As part of my research project, I help to establish an environment observatory in local communities in the Solomon Islands. The observatory project is based on the idea that Solomon Islanders can create their own evidence that climate change is happening in their country. The project is a joint effort of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, researchers from Southampton University and Dr. Adam Bobbette from the University of New South Wales.
Fanalei Island is one location at which I helped to train community members to conduct scientific measurements of temperature, rainfall, water levels and shoreline position. The community was very eager to get involved in the observatory project and even chief Wilson joined the training course.
As part of the course, we set up a thermometer at the wall of the church, installed a rain gauge and built a pole structure along the beach which can be used for measurement of water levels and beach profile changes. Furthermore, the participants learned how to conduct shoreline position measurements along the beach with the help of a GPS system.
After the completion of the 3-day course, the participants felt confident that they can carry out the measurements for the observatory independently and that they can pass on their knowledge to other villagers. Everyone is keen to start taking regular measurements and there is a strong hope among the participants that their involvement in the project will help them to make a claim that their island is sinking.