Friday, August 31, 2018

With many issues around the environment, the biggest challenge to fixing the problem is that cause and effect - and the perpetrator and victim - are so far removed from each other. Basically, we don't see the fish that chokes on our discarded plastic bag. In a similar way, the communities most affected by climate change are not the big polluters. 


The Hungry Tide looks at the toll man-made climate change has had on one such community: the Central Pacific nation of Kiribati. At an average of two metres above sea level, Kiribati's rising tides and increasing salinity threaten the lives and livelihoods of its 105,000 residents. The flim follows Mari Tiimon, a Kiribati woman living in Sydney, who takes the story of her country's plight to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and beyond. 


Tiimon is a wonderful character to travel with, even as we watch this horrible tragedy unfold. She's smart and funny, sweet and powerful, balancing the competing pressures of culture and modern advocacy. But throughout the film, we fear she's doomed to failure. We all know the apathy our larger economies can show to causes that aren't right in front of us. And these places are so small. As Australians, our part in this country's downfall is particularly shameful. 


The main question left at the end of The Hungry Tide is: if Kiribati is the canary in the coal-mine, why are we still digging? - Mark Russell