The Melanesian Mission and Exeter Cathedral are holding an awareness and fundraising evening to highlight the plight of disappearing islands in Melanesia on Thursday 10th October at 7pm at the Cathedral. Guest speakers including documentary maker and retired Blue Peter Producer Alex Leger, and Dr Ivan Haigh, as Associate Professor from Southampton University’s Ocean and Earth Science Department. Tickets are available through the Cathedral’s Box Office and on our website.
Alex first visited the Solomon Islands in 1960’s as a VSO (Volunteer Service Abroad), returning several times since, filming for Blue Peter and also for the Melanesian Mission. Shocked by the disappearance of once thriving islands, Alex has been helping the Melanesian Mission raise awareness, through his films and by introducing the charity to the work being undertaken by Ivan and his team at Southampton University.
On a visit to the UK in 2017, the then Archbishop of Melanesia, the Most Reverend George Takeli said:
“I have come to the UK to share the plight of people in Melanesia suffering from the impact of climate change. Many are having to abandon their homes, villages and islands due to rising sea levels, unpredictable weather patterns and increased air temperature.
“Many communities are struggling to adapt to these changes, with limited relocation options, resources or support. As a region with a relatively low carbon footprint, we seem to be paying a heavy price for rest of the world’s over development and wastefulness,” said the former Archbishop.
Canon Chris Palmer, from Exeter Cathedral, said:
“As a Cathedral community we are delighted to partner with the Melanesian Mission in highlighting the risk of climate change to vulnerable communities. We look forward to welcoming people to the Cathedral to discuss our responsibility for caring for the planet.”
The Melanesian Mission is undertaking a number of environmental research projects with UK researchers and institutions, to enable the Anglican Church in Melanesia to support communities affected. Working with Ivan’s team at Southampton University, one project will document the changing pattern of coastal margins in the Solomon Islands. Results from this will be shared with local communities and presented to the Solomon Islands Government and internationally to lobby on behalf of those affected.
Bishop Mark Rylands, Chair of the Melanesian Mission said:
“We hope this event in Devon will bring home the devastating effects of climate change in Melanesia and encourage people across the county to take this issue more seriously.
“We are fortunate that the effects of climate change, here in the UK, will not be seriously felt for many years to come. But in Melanesia sea level rises, changing weather patterns and the destruction of fragile ecosystems, are already destroying cultures and communities. MMUK will continue to do all it can to help the people of Melanesia with disaster relief funding, supporting vital research and raising awareness of these issues.”