An Existential Threat: How Climate Change is Impacting the Atoll Countries

Video | 9 December 2019

The entire planet is facing up to the challenge of how to combat the devastating and worsening impacts of climate change. But for urgency of that fight is highest for the atoll countries like Kiribati, the Maldives, and the Marshall Islands. For these countries, whose size, geography, and elevation make them particularly vulnerable to the impacts of rising ocean levels, climate change already poses an existential threat.

Transcript

There were many trees and bushes in this area, where we used to play, that are no longer there. It’s all gone.

Waves often come and enter the house. The entire lagoon side, waves come around and come up onto the shore. And I believe that one day my house will be gone.

This is what’s happened to our islands because of the soil erosion. You can see that this tree – it’s gone. It’s like only now you can see the roots. Actually just a few years ago there was sand like here. And sometimes when the waves come in now they come in like this. And when it is big waves, all the houses are affected. And the beach is gone. There were so many trees on this beach and it’s all gone. And five or seven years before we had 300 meters of beach. And we used to play football. And it’s all gone.

Compared with 20 years ago, the king tides here are much more often now. And not only that, the king tides that come now are much more stronger. And not only that, much more higher. This is my home and this is our verandah here. Our door from this side. We had a king tide at the beginning of this year. And it was very strong, that one. It just hit our house here, damaged all this part. Now you can see that we put all this tin roof here. Just to protect us. Because all the storms and all the beaches they just entered, the sands and all the rubbish, it just entered our house and we couldn't sleep.