Unless you are in the eye of a hurricane or your basement is flooding at high tide, you might think that global warming is an abstract problem that only affects others. You might even consider climate change a hoax perpetrated by politicians. But what if you lived on a low-lying island in the middle of the ocean. Maybe one like Kiribati where your life and livelihood is being threatened by rising sea levels. Islands like Kiribati may actually be the “canary in the coal mine” fore-warning all of us of what our futures will hold.
How many ears must a man have before he can hear people cry? —Bob Dylan
Kiribati is a small nation composed of 33 coral atolls that sit only a few feet above the Pacific Ocean’s incoming tide. NOAA recently predicted that average global sea level could rise as much as 8 feet by the end of this century. Where would Kiribati be then? It would cease to exist, this is the stark reality described in a stunning documentary film that was recently featured at the 2018 Sundance Film festival. (photo – Sierra Club)
Watching Their Homeland Slowly Wash Away
Kiribati’s 100,000 citizens face a unique dilemma, how to keep their country and its rich 4,000 years of culture from literally being washed away and it is happening now. Their homes have been inundated and their crops and drinking water contaminated.
Kiribati’s president Anote Tong is trying to chart a course through rising waters and he is running out of options. Tong, who has been on the front lines in advocating for curbs on carbon emissions, now foresees that inevitably his country will disappear beneath the waves. He is warning islanders to prepare to leave their homeland.
“Relocation, no matter how undesirable, must therefore be the brutal reality of the future of atoll island nations, and part of the solution,” he said in 2016.
Giving The People Of Kiribati A Voice
Matthieu Rytz the Canadian director of Anote’s Ark, says “I want this film to give a voice to the people of Kiribati. I want the world to see their commitment to caring for people, their respect for the natural world, and their dignity and grace as they face the loss of their entire country.”
“They are leading by example, and we must listen, and learn from them, before their fate becomes our own.”
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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