To many, Climate Change seems like something to care about in a distant future. To the people living on the many low-lying islands around the world, the negative impacts of climate change have already begun threatening their homes, their cultures, and their futures.
Photo by: Wiltven Lim
Climate change, the result of greenhouse gases produced by human activity, has largely contributed to changing climate conditions around the world. 2019 was the 2nd warmest year in record, with 2015 to 2019 being the 5 warmest years ever recorded, according to the World Meteorological Organisation. The higher temperatures these past few years have intensified natural weather events such as floods and storms. Ice glaciers and ice sheet melting, as well as the expansion of a warmer ocean have caused a rise in sea levels, with around 3.3 milllimeters of increase every year. Combine extreme weather and higher sea levels, and here are 7 beautiful islands around the world that are threatened to go under by the end of the century.
This beautiful state in the Indian Ocean is on the bucket list for many. Made up of around 1200 islands, this idyllic paradise is threatened by rising sea levels that are caused by climate change. The tallest point of Maldives is only around 2.4 meters above sea level, with the average at 1.2 meters above the sea.
Maldives has been vocal about the dangers that climate change poses to them: in 2009, former President Nasheed held a cabinet meeting underwater to draw the world’s attention to the danger of rising sea levels, and have joined forces with other island states to voice out their concerns during the UN climate talks in 2018.
Fiji is made up of more than 330 islands, situated in the Pacific Ocean. Fiji is famed for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters and reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving, among other activities.
Climate change, rising sea levels and weather has forced 5 local communities to abandon their villages to move to higher grounds, with more to follow in the future.
The Solomon Islands
Fishing in the Solomon Islands. Photo by: Tourism Solomons
There is something for everyone in the Solomon Islands. Diving, snorkeling, hiking or just relaxing, you can find a destination in the state’s 6 major islands and hundreds of small islands in the Pacific Ocean.
The Solomon Islands made headlines in 2016 when 5 of her small islands were lost partly due to climate change, with global warming intensifying weather events and threatening the lives of locals.
Photo by: Kiribati For Travellers
Located in the Pacific Ocean, Kiribati is home to beautiful reefs and turquoise blue waters. Being less than 2 meters above sea level, Kiribati is facing immense danger from climate change and the rising sea levels. Some islands of Kiribati are already gone, with the state buying land in Fiji as a possible settlement in the future.
The Marshall Islands
These islands are rich in history and cultural, with World War II ships and planes submerged under the water, creating wrecks for divers to explore.
Global warming and higher sea levels have been linked to more intense floods and storms that are threatening the homes and lives of locals, and these events could make the islands unsafe and unsuitable for living in the coming years.
Photo by: Timeless Tuvalu
This tiny island state in the Pacific Ocean is made up of 9 islands, with a charming local culture and glistening seas.With most islands only a little more than 3 meters above the sea, there is a great fear that Tuvalu will become inhospitable, even if it does not fully disappear. More intense floods, storms, droughts and high waves are endangering the lives of the people who call the tiny islands their home.
Singapore, the home base of Ocean Purpose Project, is also a low-lying island. Around 30% of Singapore is less than 5 meters above sea level, and climate change is one of the biggest threats to Singapore. Speaking at the National Day Rally in 2019, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed climate change as “one of the gravest challenges facing humankind” and spoke about Singapore’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change. The Centre for Climate Research Singapore estimates that by 2100, Singapore could see an increase in daily mean temperatures of 1.4 to 4.6 degrees Celsius. The mean sea level could rise up to 1 meter, and there could be more frequent and intense heavy rainfall events over the island. These changes mean a lot of things: Some areas of Singapore could be lost due to sea level rise, a threat to our food and water supply due to extreme weather events and higher temperatures could allow mosquitoes to thrive and spread diseases at a faster rate.
These beautiful islands are a reminder to the world that climate change is very real, and it could have devastating impacts on humans around the world. Ocean Purpose Project is working to come up with solutions to prevent Singapore from sinking due to climate change. Even though companies like us are coming up with solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change, everyone as individuals have a big part to play. Countries all over the world have seen clearer skies and cleaner air during Covid-19 lockdowns around the world. With most of the world staying at home and stopping usual daily activities, greenhouse gas emissions have dropped. This is the result of a decrease in fossil fuel burning, from activities like driving, air travel, and factories emissions.
These drops in emissions show that our individual actions do have an impact on the Earth, and that we have the power to reduce our carbon footprint, and as a whole, we will be able to reduce carbon emissions around the world for the long term. There are many ways for us to reduce our carbon footprints, and here are some resources you can use to learn more about that:
New York Times: How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The main takeaway from Covid-19 is that human action definitely matters. We can see that from governments and individuals taking action to stop the spread of Covid-19, it is possible to take action to stop climate change too.