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New Zealand Filmmakers Release UN-Funded Documentary

New Zealand Filmmakers Release UN-Funded Documentary
28 April 2016

A documentary set for global release at the end of May 2016 explores the threat sea-level rise poses to 30 million Bangladeshis over the coming decades.

The film, funded by the United Nations Development Programme, was shot in Bangladesh last year by Christchurch-based Adrien Taylor, Sam Walls, and Michael Roberts, as well as Canterbury University PhD graduate Daniel Price. It features UNDP head Helen Clark.

It’s called Thirty Million and will be released online for free at thirtymillionfilm.orgfollowing a premiere with the United Nations in New York City.

Click here to view the trailer for Thirty Million.

“With the predicted one metre of sea-level rise by 2100, 30 million Bangladeshis are expected to be displaced,” explains the film’s Co-Director and climate scientist Dr Price, who cycled from New Zealand to Paris to raise awareness on climate change last year.

“The people of Bangladesh are on the front lines of climate change. The greenhouse gasses we’ve amassed over previous decades and are continuing to contribute to are affecting them today. We wanted to give these people a voice, and ultimately, show the rest of the world that our actions in displacing them will affect us in the West, too.”

In terms of the number of people affected, Bangladesh is widely considered the most vulnerable country to climate change in the world because of its coastal and low-lying nature. Climate change is increasing the frequency of fatal cyclones along the coast, and one metre of sea-level rise is expected to make 17% of the land uninhabitable.

It takes more than forty Bangladeshis to emit the equivalent in carbon dioxide of one American, according to the World Bank.

“These people have contributed virtually nothing to the problem of climate change, yet are facing the harshest punishment for our actions, or rather: inaction,” says former TV3 journalist Taylor, Thirty Million’s other Co-Director.

“Although we can pass it off as their problem, the point is it’s morally our problem right now.”

“And even if we put the moral argument to one side,” adds Price, “the displacement of people in Bangladesh will affect western countries directly too.”

“They’re running out of space within their own country, so the internal displacement we’re seeing now will spill over the borders and into the rest of the world. We’re talking about a displacement 5-6 times the order of magnitude of the current Syrian refugee crisis. And that’s just from Bangladesh.

“We’re on the verge of a major climate refugee crisis. New Zealand should pay particular attention because our own Pacific neighbours are some of the most vulnerable in the world.”


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