15th March 2018 The Tablet
People of the southwest Pacific Ocean nation of Papua New Guinea face severe threats from rising sea levels caused by climate change, the country's first cardinal said during a visit to Washington this week.
Cardinal John Ribat, archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, shared stories of his fellow Papuans who have been forced to move inland from ancestral lands along the ocean as rising seas have inundated their homes.
The same is true on hundreds of tiny islands throughout the Pacific basin, he told Catholic News Service yesterday, before a visit to Capitol Hill to plead for action to protect the environment and address climate change.
Ocean levels have risen in recent decades, overtaking low lying areas on tiny island nations and large land masses alike. Scientists attribute higher seas to melting polar ice as greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels accumulate in the earth's atmosphere, causing the planet to warm.
"We are responsible to voice this...If nothing is happening to us in the way of help, our people will be faced with disaster," Cardinal Ribat said. The Catholic Church must accompany people who face any type of difficulty, he added.