The Human Face of Climate Change

Posted by on September 3, 2009 in Featured, Green, Oceania, Videos

When people think of climate change they usually picture images like decrepit cattle factory farms, vast rain forest devastation and heartless big oil and coal companies. Sun Come Up, an inspiring documentary by entrepreneurial filmmakers Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger, presents a different perspective — a perspective that could be all too common in the years to come.

Redfearn and Metzger document the struggle of some of the world’s first climate refugees, the Carteret Islanders. The Carteret Islanders live on a remote island chain 50 miles off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Due to rising sea levels, their island home is slowly becoming a part of the ocean and they are in the process of relocating their entire lives — jobs, culture, communal ties — the whole nine yards. Their fresh water has been contaminated, erosion has become unstoppable and unpredictable sea storms hit the island harder then ever. The Carteret Islanders are among the first to organize a community-wide evacuation as a result of climate change.


Sun Come Up, or San Kamap, which stands for sunrise in pidgin, follows relocation leader Ursula Rakova and a group of young Carteret Islanders. They are racing to secure land on nearby Bougainville, a civil-war ridden island, before the next high tide season strikes.

During the filming, Rakova gained the international attention of diplomats and community-leaders from around the world. Hopefully, with her help, future climate change refugees will be much more prepared. That will be important, because human rights organizations predict climate change could displace up to 250 million people by 2050.

It now takes only about 15 minutes to walk the length of the largest Carteret island, with food and water supplies shrinking all the time. Keep up-to-date on any news about Sun Come Up or the Carteret Islanders by visiting

Tristan Pollock

Co-founder of SocialEarth and Storefront. AngelPad alum.

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