The people of the Carteret Islands are about to make history. They will soon begin abandoning their small chain of islands, as rising seas make them increasingly uninhabitable. These islands are a group of coral atolls, just north of Papua New Guinea. The people will be re-locating to Bougainville, which is a move fraught with cultural and political problems. They will be the first people in the world to make such a move, but they will not be the last.
The First Wave is a documentary about the first climate change refugees. It questions what the response of first world countries should be to this issue and looks at the implications of sea level rise for our whole region. In The First Wave we meet the islanders for the first time and see their island home. We experience their traditional life-style and hear their hopes and fears for the future. There are differing opinions among the Islanders about what they want. But their greatest fear is that no-one is listening.
The people of the Carteret islands sit at a turning point in history. Their relocation, the first of its kind, comes at a time when human induced global warming has become widely accepted as a reality, but there is an alarmingly small amount being done to avert the crisis or deal with problems like the displacement of tens of millions of people or more.