Published on March 9th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan
Kiribati Residents Moving to Fiji because of Sea Level Rise
The effects of global warming have been known for a long time. We have been warned. Unfortunately, we have largely ignored the warnings. As a result, we are starting to see the effects around the world. The first effect mentioned on that post linked above is ‘sea level rise’. It’s a big one, and some countries are already being lost to it.
For example, Kiribati (an island in the central Pacific Ocean) is now in the process of planning a move of all of its inhabitants to Fiji. The island nation just sits a few feet above sea level, and those few feet are increasingly threatened by global inaction on global warming and climate change. Even before the island is swallowed by the ocean, seawater will (and is beginning to) contaminate fresh groundwater essential to life on the island.
Sister site Blue Living Ideas notes the work of photographer Ciril Jazbec, who went to Kiribati to see the effects of sea level rise first-hand… and photograph them. This photo below by Jazbec shows how rising sea levels kills trees and other necessary plants:
Not quite as pretty as the photo at the top.
Jazbec has a website titled Kiribati is Gone. The entrance to the site is pretty striking and I recommend checking it out. The website also includes many more photos worth a view.
Kiribati Preparing for Migration
“Kiribati President Anote Tong told The Associated Press on Friday that his Cabinet this week endorsed a plan to buy nearly 6,000 acres on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu,” the Associated Press reports. “He said the fertile land, being sold by a church group for about $9.6 million, could be insurance for Kiribati’s entire population of 103,000, though he hopes it will never be necessary for everyone to leave.”
However, some of Kiribati’s residents have already moved — to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia — in anticipation of such a need.
It’s not only rising sea levels that are a concern for the residents there. Equal concerns are, perhaps, changing rainfall patterns, changing tidal patterns, and increasingly threatening storms. These are all effects of global warming and climate change that scientists have been warning us about for decades.