The people of the Carteret Atoll, a group of low-lying islands located in the South Pacific, are not accustomed to dominating the world’s headlines. But if the warnings of scientists are even half correct, their story could have the most far-reaching implications for the century. These are the world’s first climate-change refugees, forced to relocate because their homes are sinking into the ocean. While world leaders struggled to save face in Copenhagen in December 2009, many–mostly poor–were already paying the price of inaction.
History has shown that human folly is matched only by our capacity for achievement. With war, terror, fundamentalism, greed, environmental destruction and reality television, this hasn’t been our finest decade. Let’s hope we find our better selves in the next ten years.
It is, of course, impossible to cover all of the important stories in such a vast, varied and dynamic region over a ten-year period. But it’s been interesting trying.
What did we miss? What did we get wrong? Send us your comments below.