WWF-Canada Blog:

VIFF: There Once was an Island


These were the sobering words of Marianne Fish, WWF’s Marine and Coastal Adaptation Leader for Latin America. A rapt audience watched the story of a community facing the effects of climate change last night at the North American premiere of There Once Was an Island (Te Henua e Nnoho), part of WWF’s Heaven and Earth series at VIFF.

In the South Pacific, the Takuu islanders’ tiny island home – and their ancient culture – is under threat of destruction.Will they decide to stay with their island home or move to a new and unfamiliar land, leaving their culture and language behind forever?


“Communities that have lived in places like the Atoll for thousands of years are having to make real ecisions about their cultures and ways of living,” explained Hussein Alidina, our senior officer of Marine Planning, in the discussion following the film.

Hussein, Marianne and other WWF experts work on “climate adaptation,” helping people in coastal communities deal with the effects of climate change. But rising sea levels, eroding shorelines, and drastic weather changes aren’t just happening far away, Hussein is quick to point out. Here on BC’s coast, an emerging issue is ocean acidification, “the evil partner of climate change.”

It’s an urgent situation worldwide, but there is hope, if people support climate adaptation efforts, continue to reduce their personal footprints, and let goverment and policy makers know that these issues matter, Hussein stresses. Marianne quotes the wise words of Satty, one of the residents of Takuu in the film: “Let’s get together and do something.”