Film shows plight of islanders displaced because of climate change

September 15, 2012

A Catholic environmental advocacy group is coordinating a nationwide screening of a documentary on climate change next month, and CHA is encouraging ministry systems and facilities to take part.

The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change is engaging Catholic parishes, schools, youth groups and others to host a viewing of the film Sun Come Up around the time of the Feast of St. Francis to educate people about the devastating impact that climate change can have on vulnerable populations. The Academy Award-nominated film illuminates the plight of the inhabitants of the Carteret Islands, a string of low-lying islands that are part of Papua New Guinea. The islanders are being displaced from their homes due to rising tides, salinized wells and eroded land — impacts that experts link to global climate change. Experts have found land on the Carteret Islands is being poisoned by salt, making it difficult to grow food.

Sun Come Up filmmaker Jennifer Redfearn said the islanders are gradually evacuating and relocating to Bougainville, a Papua New Guinea island about 50 miles away, but a shortage of funds is slowing their migration. Only several families have moved since relocation talk began several years ago. About 2,500 people live in the Carteret Islands, according to Redfearn.

In Sun Come Up, islanders describe their mixed emotions at being forced to move. Some express fear that their people will lose their identity and culture when they leave the Carteret Islands behind.

The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change is encouraging Catholic organizations to show the film Oct. 1, 2, 3 or 4 in observance of the Feast of St. Francis, a saint who celebrated the wonder of creation. For a suggested donation of $10 to help offset shipping costs, organizations can receive a DVD of the movie and can download a packet of information to facilitate discussion before or after the screening. A limited supply of the DVDs is available. Information on scheduling a screening and ordering the materials is at The movie's trailer can be viewed at:

Organizations can still order the movie and materials after Oct. 4, but the DVD price likely will increase.

CHA is a member of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change and has resources on environmental responsibility online. From that page, website visitors can access CHA's latest resource, "Climate Change and Health: Is There a Role for the Health Care Sector?" and learn about an Oct. 3 webinar on "Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network — Catholic Health Care's Opportunity."


Copyright © 2013 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2012 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.