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A world away from Paris, erratic climate pushes a country to the edge


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Editor’s Note: As world leaders meet in Paris to negotiate a global climate change agreement, people across the planet are already facing the effects of extreme weather events. The major drought currently plaguing Papua New Guinea — likely exacerbated by climate change — has seen little news coverage outside the Asia-Pacific region.

Merida Ginisi cares for a giant clam farm on Wiyaloki, a small island in southeastern Papua New Guinea (PNG). For a decade, she and her family have been working to protect this pocket of the Pacific Ocean and the species within it for future generations — until the current drought took hold.

Since June this year, low rainfall has slashed crop yields and depleted food stores for families across the country’s largely rural population. Last month, Ginisi’s family was forced to harvest some of their most prized possessions — the giant clams they’ve worked so hard to protect — simply because the community needed something to eat.

This may seem like a failure of conservation — albeit an inevitable one given the circumstances. Yet it is…

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