Communities in Micronesia may just save the world – or at least adapt to the ways it’s changing – through the use of flip charts. Wait! Huh? What? Did you say “flip charts?” I thought all climate-change materials produced by non-profit organizations were required to be technical reports or overly detailed guidebooks?
“A lot of Micronesian communities don’t have access to computers or big screens, and books aren’t always so easy to inspire and motivate. Something more accessible, visual, useful, and not too technical is needed to use with community members on how they can prepare for a changing climate,” the Conservancy’s senior social scientist, Supin Wongbusarakum, told me.
The large flip charts graphically depict climate change concepts and actions that can be carried out by the communities, with the help of contributing partners like the Micronesia Conservation Trust and The Nature Conservancy.
(The flip charts are actually just one part of a set of new climate-adaptation tools now becoming available to people in Micronesia. There are, indeed, some more technical materials accompanying this tool set. They include a facilitator’s guide to explain each of the flip-chart pages, and a booklet meant to be left with the community members that explains in more detail the concepts behind the illustrations on the flip charts.)
For instance, the artwork above depicts a healthy Micronesia community and the graphic below shows one that’s threatened. The graphic flip charts are more likely to be carried around between community meetings and inspire real action.
In many ways, Micronesia is already at the forefront of climate action. We all could learn a few things about climate preparation from not only these flip charts, but also the many ways Micronesians are already protecting themselves.
In Namdrik Attoll, in the Marshall Islands, the community is planting vegetation around the eroding shoreline, installing household water tanks to catch rainwater to consume, and establishing protected areas for their fish and other vital marine life.
In Palau’s Ngarchalong community, coral reefs and fish populations are being protected through partnerships with local organizations, and climate change is factored into decisions about their precious ocean resource.
And in the low-lying Tegua community of Vanuatu, one of Micronesia’s Pacific neighbors in Melanesia, homes have been removed and rebuilt on higher grounds, where flooding and water shortages are now not as much of a concern; new water tanks have resulted in more drinking water than was previously available to each family; and their health has improved because of the ability to more frequently bathe in clean water.
The downloadable flip charts and more are available here.
Paul Mackie is a blogger and associate communications director at The Nature Conservancy
Illustrations by Sevuloni Tora. Design and content by Meghan Gombos, Scott Atkinson and Supin Wongbusarakum
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