The Hungry Tide looks at the plight of low-lying Pacific countries by showing the 'human face' of climate change. The Pacific nation of Kiribati (pronounced Kiri-bas) is one of the countries in the world most vulnerable to climate change. Kiribati is composed of thirty-three atolls spread over 3.5 million square kilometres and is considered one of the least developed countries in the world. Global warming is causing the sea levels to rise, with bigger storm surges. Sea water is becoming more acidic, rainfall patterns are changing, air temperatures have increased, with more very hot days. These effects are threatening the way of life and livelihoods of 110,000 people.
Maria Tiimon, originally from Kiribati, now lives in Sydney, where she works with schools and community groups raising awareness of climate change issues in the Pacific. Maria's spiritual home, however, is the small Kiribati atoll of Beru. This is where her father lives, a proud village elder, whom Maria idolises. The pressures on Maria, not only from her family, but from her vulnerable nation, are enormous. Her aim is to take the message of the Kiribati people to the world.
The Hungry Tide traces Maria's efforts to raise awareness of the issues her country is facing on the international stage. Poignantly, a small non-government organisation (NGO), the Pacific Calling Partnership (an initiative of the Edmund Rice Centre), acts as an advocate for Kiribati at the United Nations Climate Change Conferences in 2009 and 2010. This is an important story that is relevant for all global citizens.
The Hungry Tide could be used as a stimulus for student discussion to about the political, social and scientific issues associated with climate change. It is suitable for upper primary to senior secondary levels. It is most relevant to Science, Humanities, Religious Education, Geography, English, Media and Multidisciplinary Projects.
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