By Leila Parina and NextGenRadio Staff
Nanai Ariavogo is a former councilor of Gabagaba village in Papua New Guinea. As a leader, he’s had to help the residents get through the storms and droughts caused by numerous disasters. Today, he’s retired and lives a simple life in the village while also grappling with how much has changed because of the climate crisis.
“Climate change will not help bring my village back. But I am just hopeful that by the good grace of our Lord, my village could have gone back to the very first time when I came to know about this world.”
Photo by Leila Parina
The 64-year-old Ariavogo, a former architectural draftsman, has seen firsthand the impacts of climate change on his coastal village. Mangroves disappeared after the riverbanks opened up, flooding is more frequent, and storms and rough seas wash away gravel and sand from beneath the village. The beachfront is being pushed back.
“My village is one of those villages that stands on stilts and people have come to accustomed living over the water,” he says. Many residents are left with no options and are forced to adapt.
When residents were hit hard by heavy rain that lasted three days and caused flooding in 2016 the community came together to put up a sea wall at one church to withstand more water.
Ariavogo turns to his faith hoping that one day more can be done to directly address the rising tide that he says both “men and the weather” are responsible for.