Coordinates-Solwara 1 Duke of York & west coast NI
Duke of York Islands and West coast New Ireland are two very grave areas chosen as the sight of the proposed Solwara 1 Project world’s first deep-sea mining yet showing a very rich cultural and spiritual tradition to the sea.
Duke of York Islands, a group of islands located in East New Britain Province. They are found in St George Channel between New Britain and New Ireland and forms part of the Bismarck Archipelago. The largest island of Duke of York the other two small islands of Mioko Palpal in the south and Makada in the north.
Duke of York Islands remains the transit point for local seafarers and people travelling by boat from west coast New Ireland to the nearest town of Kokopo in East New Britain. This sea route taken by the travelling public is largely inclined to the lack of basic government services and infrastructure in mainland New Ireland and being located further away from Kavieng the provincial center and in accessing Kokopo is not an exception.
These exquisite and remote isles in the center of the proposed Solwara 1 project continuously strengthen their cultural and spiritual connection to the sea to ban Seabed Mining. The Kinavai ceremony (Duke of York) a traditional parade of the tolai sacred society the Dukduks, traditional mask dancers on the sea and the traditional shark callers from Messi village west coast New Ireland are living paradigms of people who are culturally alive and intimately connected to the sea. These practices are inherent thus making it infinitive for science to separate the local cultures from its spirituality that is tied to the sea.
Sharing the same scenario in geographical location within the Solwara 1 project and having similar close cultural ties the coastal benefit areas (West Coast New Ireland and Duke of York Islands remain a crucial center for a local holistic investigative analysis of the Solwara 1 Project.
Investigative Analysis through Conceptual and Participatory processes has provided a substantive background yet very clear and concise local knowledge.
Locals including men women, young people, children and elders in Duke of York Island were asked to create a risk mapping; write down problems associated with Deep Sea Mining on cards, then rank them accordingly.
Inclusive of the participatory process locals did an illustration of their fishing grounds and mapping out a natural ecosystem that has consistently provided for their livelihood for thousands of years.
Another investigative approach the Conceptual process (developing mental models) of hazard mapping through verbal opinions clearly describes a very comprehensive society. For example to estimate and draw/represent the depth of the ocean, how it looks and what will be the risks of Deep Sea Mining.
Locals together with volunteers assembled a participatory art sculpture on the seaward part of the island facing the sea route of sea travellers from West coast New Ireland. The construction of sculptures stands as a signpost to protest, educate and tell people about the risks of seabed mining; a very westernized fashion yet very informative and effective.
Conceptual and Participatory Art is convincible for the local peoples of West Coast New Ireland and Duke of York Islands because it is practically and theoretical proven that the people are closely connected with the nature and the surrounding environment; the scientific knowledge of the eco-system is more proven and understandable through their daily experiences. The people’s experiences and local knowledge of the sea and the associate environment practically weighs out bold propositions by senior officials in respective authorities most of them seem to be pressed into uncertainty. A local ordinary person with a vast understanding of his or her local environment is better off in telling changes in the ocean natural system and how it influences the society’s hence sea bed mining needs more grounding knowledge in theory and practice.
Duke of York Islanders and New Irelanders from the west coast stand together with hands crossed to BAN Deep Sea Mining in their waters. Their opposition is well presented in their initial view and is further replicated, about and almost all of Duke of York Islands and especially west coast New Ireland.
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Participatory Risk Mapping-Women & Children
Locals & Volunteers-Sculpture assembling
Illustration of local ecosystem
Tolai Kinavai Ceremony-Sea Parade