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4.3 Dilemmas of climate change

In Section 4.1, we looked at claims that climatic change thousands of years ago triggered the movement of people into the ocean, eventually leading to the settling of islands like Tuvalu. We have also seen that these islands only rose out of the ocean because of dynamic geological processes coupled with dramatic changes in climate and sea level.

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4.2 Shifting ground

In Section 3 and in Section 4 so far, we have begun with the questions of how and why humans found their way to oceanic islands, and how other living things have come to make themselves at home on these same islands. The question we have yet to consider, the one that in a way underpins these other questions, is how there came to be isolated tracts of land in the middle of a
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4.1 When climate changes

We have seen that human-induced climate change poses a challenge for people who live on islands. Such changing patterns and extremes of climate also put pressure on the other living things that are part of the make-up of island territories. However, long before human beings became aware that they could transform the flows that constitute climate, they and other species were already taking advantage of these same flows to help create the very territories that are now under threat. But have the
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3.2 Migrations of life

As biologist and pioneer environmentalist Rachel Carson once wrote: ‘the stocking of the islands has been accomplished by the strangest migration in earth's history – a migration that began long before man appeared on earth and is still continuing’ (Carson, 1953, p. 66). Austronesian voyagers may have been the first people to venture far into open water, but many other species, as Carson suggests, have also found ways of negotiating passages across the ocean. Arriving at pockets of
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3.1 Voyages of discovery and settlement

In Section 2, we saw that there are momentous new and recently transformed flows that are impacting on island territories. Some flows have important precedents, and others may not be quite as novel as they first appear. In this section, we look more closely at some of the flows that have helped make, remake and sometimes unmake islands.

This takes us away from the flows that have captured recent attention, such as movement of g
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2.4 Worlds in motion: the importance of flows

‘The sea had welled up suddenly through thousands of tiny holes in this atoll's bedrock of coral.’ Do you recall this passage in Lynas's (2003) account of his first days on Tuvalu in Reading 1A? For me, this gives an impression of the islands being quite literally porous, a solid ground that reveals itself, now and again, to be not so solid after all. Lynas offers this particularly striking example of the island's openness to the world around it as evidence of a growing vulnerability
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2.3 Divisions that matter: thinking through territories

Without losing our focus on the planet as a whole, it is time now to return to what Paani Laupepa from Tuvalu refers to as the ‘front line’ of climate change: those islands that are particularly vulnerable to rising sea level and associated climatic hazards (Lynas, 2003). It has often been said that low-lying coral islands like Tuvalu or Kiribas in the Pacific Ocean, or the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, are acting as a kind of early warning system for global climate change. Sea level
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2.2 Climate change in a globalised world

As you will recall from Reading 1A, the people of Tuvalu are now arguing that larger and more affluent nations should take responsibility for the climatic changes threatening their country. As Paani Laupepa from the Tuvalu environment ministry put it: ‘We are on the front line … through no fault of our own. The industrialised countries caused the problem, but we are suffering the consequences’ (Lynas, 2003). Before we look more closely at this charge, and the scientific eviden
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2.1 Issues of responsibility

The aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami saw an unprecedented aid effort to assist the affected regions. In the early days after the disaster, pledges of financial assistance from overseas governments were often outstripped by the generosity of their own populaces. This was a case when ordinary people around the world saw and were moved by the tragic circumstances of others far away (Rose, 2006), and they responded with gifts of money and provisions, and even with offers of their own sk
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1 Dividing the planet

A good globe can set you back quite a lot of money. Of course, I don't mean the little moulded plastic planets or the globes you can blow up as if the world were a beach ball, but the decent sized ones that sit solidly on turned wooden bases and quietly emanate authority from the corner of a room. Yet these days, it hardly seems worthwhile making such an investment. Countries appear to change their colour, their shape or their name with remarkable rapidity.

It has become a cliché t
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Next steps
Engineering is about extending the horizons of society by solving technical problems, ranging from the meeting of basic human needs for food and shelter to the generation of wealth by trade. This unit looks at the impact of changes in temperature on a variety of objects and looks at the problem of boiling water.
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Next steps
Engineering is about extending the horizons of society by solving technical problems, ranging from the meeting of basic human needs for food and shelter to the generation of wealth by trade. Engineers see the problems more as challenges and opportunities than as difficulties. What they appear to be doing is solving problems, but in fact they are busy creating solutions, an altogether more imaginative activity.
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Next steps
How do different instruments produce the sounds we classify as music? How do we decide whether something – a piano, a vacuum cleaner – is actually a musical instrument? In this unit we investigate the way vibrations and sound waves are harnessed to create music.
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6 Radiation
How do different instruments produce the sounds we classify as music? How do we decide whether something – a piano, a vacuum cleaner – is actually a musical instrument? In this unit we investigate the way vibrations and sound waves are harnessed to create music.
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5.15 Summary of Section 5
How do different instruments produce the sounds we classify as music? How do we decide whether something – a piano, a vacuum cleaner – is actually a musical instrument? In this unit we investigate the way vibrations and sound waves are harnessed to create music.
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5.14 Response and damping
How do different instruments produce the sounds we classify as music? How do we decide whether something – a piano, a vacuum cleaner – is actually a musical instrument? In this unit we investigate the way vibrations and sound waves are harnessed to create music.
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5.13.4 Pitches of notes produced by percussion instruments
How do different instruments produce the sounds we classify as music? How do we decide whether something – a piano, a vacuum cleaner – is actually a musical instrument? In this unit we investigate the way vibrations and sound waves are harnessed to create music.
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5.13.3 Circular plate
How do different instruments produce the sounds we classify as music? How do we decide whether something – a piano, a vacuum cleaner – is actually a musical instrument? In this unit we investigate the way vibrations and sound waves are harnessed to create music.
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5.13.2 Circular membrane
How do different instruments produce the sounds we classify as music? How do we decide whether something – a piano, a vacuum cleaner – is actually a musical instrument? In this unit we investigate the way vibrations and sound waves are harnessed to create music.
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5.13.1 Rectangular bar
How do different instruments produce the sounds we classify as music? How do we decide whether something – a piano, a vacuum cleaner – is actually a musical instrument? In this unit we investigate the way vibrations and sound waves are harnessed to create music.
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