Global warming and climate change. Regardless of what your stance is in the issue, read this article about Kiribati.
Kiribati is an island nation in the south Pacific with a population 103,000. All of their land is only mere meters above sea level. With the gradual rise in sea level, soon their entire land will be submerged.
With no indications of sea levels receding, President Anote Tong has been trying to address this issue so that his citizens retain a home. In September 2011, The Telegraph reported that Tong was considering converting the entire nation to a nation on stilts. Now, almost a year later, Tong has reconsidered this option of creating new land to using existing land: purchasing land area from Fiji.
Like the more recent article mentions, with the transfer of the Kiribati nation to another land, they will inevitably lose a part of their cultural heritage and identity as they must implicitly adopt and assimilate. Therefore, it is not only the death of their islands but a toll for the people as well.
The important thing to realize that neither of Tong’s suggestions is a solution. They are merely an immediate response to accommodate a problem that, for the moment, affects Kiribati more extremely than any other nation. If sea levels rise even more, all countries will be scrambling for higher ground and overcrowding cities inland. (Use this map to see how a rise in sea level will affect our islands and coasts). Being here in southern California and seeing all the mansions scattered along every bit of the coastline, I worry that if this time of chaos arrives, the competition will become one of wealth.
For the preservation of the world’s cultural richness, biodiversity, or beauty for our children to admire and enjoy…. Whatever the reason, let’s convince our individual nations to change out current way of life and seek a solution together.