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As part of a larger senior thesis on small island states, climate change and innovation, geography major and Morehead-Cain scholar James Ellsmoor, has researched and reported on Kiribati’s move to purchase land in Fiji as a climate change adaptation strategy. After researching the purchase, visiting the land and interviewing local inhabitants, he reports on the complexity of climate change politics. His findings, which have been published in the Development Policy Centre blog and picked up by Radio New Zealand, reveal that the land purchase has brought attention to the plight of small island states and their citizens that stand to be greatly impacted by rising sea levels and warming ocean temperatures. They also highlight the complex political, environmental and social impacts that relocating displaced Kiribati citizens to the land in Fiji would bring forth. These challenges including the potential dislocation of roughly 500 ethnic Solomon Islanders living on the land who are descendants of colonial slaves who worked Fiji’s sugar plantations and the practical and cultural challenges of expanding livelihood options for new settlers. For more detail, and to hear an interview with James, see:



Picture Above – Copra plantations on the coastal side of the Natoavatu Estate


Picture Above – Taro patch on the edge of Naviavia village


Picture Above – Drinking kava in Naviavia village


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