Once an idyllic paradise, the small island nation of Kiribati is slowly being destroyed by the negative effects of climate change. Rising sea levels are swallowing up these tiny islands, poisoning the native trees and agricultural crops.
Storm surges, freakish waves, salination of fresh water wells and lands, unpredictable weather and tidal increases are all contributing to the country’s physical and cultural demise.
Kiribati has a population over 117,000, and the average age is 21.
To where will these young climate refugees migrate, and how many will be able to stay? Who will be their host countries? Right now, there is no UN policy in place to help the people of Kiribati survive.
Upon returning from his trip, Lewis asked Amata and Marek Papaj, the brother and sister musicians of the Polish duo Slav, to compose a song that would capture the quiet desperation of the photos.
This powerful slideshow is the result:
“We grew up in Northeast Poland, near the last primeval forest in Europe,” said Amata. “We have always felt a deep connection with nature and it’s a very important thing in our life. When we were asked to make music for these slides, we didn’t think very long before saying “yes”.
Slav was very saddened after watching the slides that their music would accompany, so they decided to sell the song and use the money to help the people of Kiribati.
The song, “Nakomai Buokira” can be purchased HERE for just $1. The proceeds benefit the Edmund Rice Center which has an extensive program to help the people of Kiribati cope with rising sea levels.
Image Copyright: Jon Lewis, 2010. All Rights Reserved.