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Sinking islands? Tuvalu and climate change in the Sydney Morning Herald Carol Farbotko University of Tasmania Hobart, Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "Sinking islands? Tuvalu and climate change in the Sydney Morning Herald Carol Farbotko University of Tasmania Hobart, Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sinking islands? Tuvalu and climate change in the Sydney Morning Herald Carol Farbotko University of Tasmania Hobart, Australia

2 Part 1 - Tuvalu’s socioeconomic profile Part 2 - Tuvalu and climate change Part 3 – Media representation of Tuvalu and climate change Structure

3 Source:http://www.sptc.gov.au/map.htm Part 1 – Tuvalu

4 Source:http://www.tuvaluislands.com/maps/maps-index.htm Part 1 – Tuvalu

5 Population statistics Part 1 – Tuvalu Population 1 9,600 Population density persons/km 2 Urban population 1 47% Life expectancy 1 Male 61.7 Female 65.1 Adult literacy 2 Male 95% Female 95% Access to safe water 2 85% Access to sanitation 2 49% Source: 1 Secretariat of the Pacific Community: 2004 figures based on 2002 Census 2 United Nations Development Programme:1999

6 Coastal erosion and land loss Flooding Soil salinisation and intrusion of salt water into groundwater aquifers Impacts on coral and fish stocks Impacts on agricultural production and human health Projected adverse consequences of climate change in small island states Part 2 – Tuvalu and climate change

7 Part 3 – Media representation Newspaper circulation PublicationMain distribution Weekday Circulation 2004 Sydney Morning Herald New South Wales 221,022 Daily TelegraphNew South Wales 409,000 The AustralianAustralia131,000 Source: Herald Adcentre and Newsmedianet

8 Part 3 – Media representation Sydney Morning Herald data Time period1 st January st January 2003 Included textsNews articles, comments and letters Electronic search termTuvalu* Total number of texts67 Manual search topicsClimate change, sea level rise Number of texts associating Tuvalu with climate change 34

9 “Climate change” does not simply suggest the onset of cloudy weather to the 10,588 Tuvaluans; it is a matter of life and death. M. Riley ‘Tiny Islands Join UN with a Sinking Feeling’ SMH, 18th February 2000, p8. Part 3 – Media representation Extract 1: Construction of sea level rise as a serious concern

10 There is one pressing problem that no amount of money can solve. The nation’s highest point is a mere 4.5 metres above sea level. N. Korn ‘High Net Wealth’ SMH, 30th January 1999, Spectrum p7. Part 3 – Media representation Extract 2: Construction of sea level rise as an inevitable event

11 With a highest land point of 4.5 metres above sea level, this slice of Pacific paradise is in imminent peril of becoming a paradise lost to global warming. M. Riley ‘Tiny Islands Join UN with a Sinking Feeling ’ SMH, 18th February 2000, p8. Part 3 – Media representation Extract 3: Dramatisation and use of stereotype

12 The Tuvaluan Government is considering abandoning the islands its people have lived on for thousands of years. D. Wroe ‘Australia refuses to throw lifeline to drowning Tuvalu’ SMH, 19th July 2001, p1. There is nowhere else on earth that can substitute for our God-given homeland in Tuvalu. Toaripi Lauti of Tuvalu’s Prime Ministerial Special Envoy On Climate Change UNFCCC COP Part 3 – Media representation Extracts 4 and 5: Partial representation

13 In an impassioned speech to the global warming conference in Buenos Aires late last year, the Prime Minister said: “We are…the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable of countries to the effect of sea-level rise.” N. Korn ‘High Net Wealth’ SMH, 30th January 1999, Spectrum p7. Part 3 – Media representation Extract 6: Invoking voices of Tuvaluan leaders

14 Images of inundation contribute to compelling news stories Tuvalu is represented as a victim-state with a bleak future Emphasis on Tuvalu’s vulnerability tends to silence discourses of resilience Media representation: conclusions


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