Here's a problem most of us will never, ever in our lives face: The nation of Kiribati may soon find itself entirely under water! The small nation looks like paradise right now. It's a series of tiny islands (atolls) in the South Pacific, near Fiji and Papua New Guinea: White sands, warm, crystal waters, palm trees. But it would be hell if your WHOLE COUNTRY became under water.
Thank climate change for this unhappy situation. Climate change, urg! Why are you so pervasive and nasty? It's causing ocean waters to rise world-wide, and since the atolls of Kiribati are already very close to sea level ... shudder. What are the Kiribati people going to do?
They're buying themselves some land in Fiji, just in case. The Kiribati government has agreed to pay $9.6 million for land in Fiji where the 103,000 inhabitants can evacuate just in case the worst happens. Actually, some are already fleeing -- some villages have moved because sea water is contaminating their fresh groundwater.
This is so sad! Fiji may seem like practically the same place, but to people who have lived in the same place for generations, it is most definitely not the same, at all. Even the president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, says he probably won't evacute even if everyone else does.
Meanwhile, President Tong is like a real-life Lorax. He speaks for the islands, but no one will hear him. Tong has been calling on the international community to take action to reduce climate change. It's sobering to think that our actions here could have a dire effect on people living on the other side of the world.
What would you do if you were a Kiribati inhabitant?
Image via undp/YouTube