Ursula Rakova: Our islands are disappearing

Community Leader, Papua New Guinea

“By 2020 or by 2040, scientists say virtually all the islands will be gone.”

“It does not only affect my people,” says Ursula Rakova, “It affects everyone.”

But Rakova’s people have been affected, and she has taken the lead in helping them deal with the changes climate change is wreaking on the small atolls of Papua New Guinea. As the Executive Direct of Tulele Peisa — an organization that aims to facilitate relocation and resettlement of the Tulun/Carterets Atoll community who are facing threats from climate change — Rakova has become a pioneer in the environmental movement in Papua New Guinea. She is responsible for organizing people on the eroding Carterets Islands and moving them to the mainland of Bougainville Province, where they must start new lives.

Rakova is the founder of Bougainville Cocoa Net Limited. The company was created to provide a means for relocated people to earn an income, many of whom will eventually resettle near cocoa farms.

In 2008, Ursula received the Pride of PNG award for her contribution to the environment. The award was given out to “heroes who contributed to the development of Papua New Guinea.”

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