Oct 12 2011
The Government of Tuvalu in the South Pacific has declared a state of emergency and has begun receiving airlifted shipments of potable water and desalination equipment from Australia and New Zealand. Despite having two desalination plants on the capitol island of Funafuti, Tuvalu is only able to supply water to half its population of 10,000 residents. Authorities have started rationing water to Funafuti’s 5000 residents allowing them only 2 buckets of water per family per day. Schools have shut down their toilets and residents have started bathing and washing their clothes in lagoons. Although the country is at the height of its rainy season, there has been no precipitation in over 6 months. A La Nina weather pattern, resulting in less rainfall over the area, is being blamed for the severe drought conditions, and the effects of climate change have exacerbated living conditions on the island. Rising ocean levels have contaminated drinkable groundwater and salt water has been encroaching on cropland. Fishing, which is the main livelihood of the islanders, is diminishing because of rising water temperatures. The South Pacific Islands as a whole are suffering. US army forces in American Samoa have brought in thousands of gallons of bottled water to the New Zealand territory of Tokelau, where 1400 residents have completely run out of drinking water. Meanwhile, in neighboring Fiji, precious groundwater continues to be bottled by the Fiji water company to sell in other countries. Climatologists are predicting that rising sea levels will drown out these island nations in the next 50 years. With the United Nations Climatology meeting coming up next month in Durban, South Africa, the Pacific Island Nations are getting ready to voice their concerns to the world community. Living at elevations only 10 to 17 feet above sea level, the possibility of their islands completely disappearing is a harsh reality. In an attempt to bring more attention to the issues of global warming, a group of South Pacific performers will be performing for the first time in the US. Made up of 36 singers and dancers from the tiniest island nations in the South Pacific, the group is on a 14 city tour of the US. Judy Mitoma, Director of the UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance and UCLA Emeritus Professor of the World Arts and Cultures Department, has put together this seminal performance through the World Festival of Sacred Music called Water is Rising: Music and Dance Amid Climate Change.
GUESTS: Mikaele Maiava, Artistic Director of the Tokelau group, Judy Mitoma, curator of Water is Rising
Water is Rising will be performing for one night only in Los Angeles, on Saturday October 15th at 7 pm at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Visit waterisrising.com for more information. Tickets are available for online purchase here: http://www.uclalive.org/calendar/event_detail.asp?id=160