Real ‘Waterworld’ film in contention for an Oscar

The serious consequences of Earth’s changing climate are the subject of a powerful documentary film nominated for an Academy Award, the U.S. film industry’s top prize.

“Sun Come Up” is the story of the Carteret Islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea, where filmmaker Jennifer Redfearn says Islanders have had no choice but to move to higher ground.

“We documented some of the destruction that is happening from rising sea levels, more frequent storm surges, from the lack of fresh water sources and how the sea has contaminated some of their gardening land.”

Average global temperatures have climbed about one degree Celsius since the last century and at an accelerated rate in recent decades. And scientists believe the global warming trend is responsible for an increased severity of droughts, floods, and storms across the globe, and slowly rising ocean levels.

Ursula Rakova grew up on the Carteret Islands. “In those times the sea wasn’t as cruel as it is today,” she says. By 2015, her homeland is expected to be under water, so she now heads the relocation effort for 3,000 people.

Sea levels have risen about 200 feet in the last 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age.

Director Redfearn says the Carteret islanders are among the world’s first climate refugees. The International Organization for Migration predicts the number of people displaced by rising ocean levels will grow to 200 million by 2050. Director Redfearn is hopeful that the Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject will stimulate greater public awareness of the real human and environmental costs of climate change.

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