Tsunamis, Mangroves, and Expats, oh my! :

Indigenous ideas about sea level rise in Papua New Guinea

The province of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea is a "marine province," with hundreds of tiny islands and a few bigger ones. The 150,000 citizens of New Ireland, who speak 20 different languages, are on the front lines of global climate change. Over the past ten years they have been faced with sea level rise, king tides, tsunami threats, coral bleaching of their reefs, beach erosion, and the salinization of their drinking water. This talk offers some of the perspectives on climate change and its mitigation held by the indigenous inhabitants of New Ireland.


Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College and Columbia University

Paige West is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University and chair of anthropology at Barnard College. She has written about the linkages between environmental conservation and international development, the material and symbolic ways in which the natural world is understood and produced, the aesthetics and poetics of human social relations with nature, and the creation of commodities and practices of consumption. She is the founder and editor of the journal Environment and Society and has published many books and scholarly articles. Since the mid 1990s she has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea to understand their traditions, especially as they relate to biodiversity, and to help them figure out how to conserve their cultures, languages, and environments. In addition to her academic work, Dr. West is the co-founder of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small NGO dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in PNG among Papua New Guineans. Dr. West is also the co-founder of the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in PNG dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and western scientific knowledge.


6:30 PM @ Flute Midtown


* Entrance over 21