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Rising Sea Levels Threaten To Swallow Up Island Nations

Rising Sea Levels Threaten To Swallow Up Island Nations

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.

Desperate to put a human face on this tragedy, renowned photographer Jon Lewis recently traveled to Kiribati to photograph both the people and the slow disappearance of their country.

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.

Related Reading:

New Documentary Reveals The Human Face Of Climate Change

Americans May Be Among First Climate Refugees

Climate Change Refugees: Plants, Animals and Insects Will Have To Keep Moving

Read more: , , , , , , ,

Image Copyright: Jon Lewis, 2010. All Rights Reserved.

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9:50AM PST on Nov 25, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

10:06AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

I wish someone could invent a very tall, see-through, storm-proof wall to help hold back the tides, so that these people could keep their homeland....though it wouldn't be the same typical day at the beach anymore, it would be better than having to leave your roots behind. I can think of nothing sadder than being forced to give up one's homeland by force, never to return.

11:40AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011


5:12AM PDT on Jun 11, 2011

IMHO, they should evacuate Kiribati for now, somehow, and take the natives elsewhere. Wherever exactly this island nation is situated, it is the first in the line of fire. Also the whole Atlantic Ocean seaboard, on both east and west sides, at least, is due to rise dramatically if the whole north polar region melts. And drown out all cities below sealevel for quite a vast stretch.
It would be nice if those scientific personnel who know what to do would DO it, and not worry about permission from whoever they imagine they NEED it, to prevent massive loss of life. Would not these people be HEROES? Or would it be CRIMINAL, nowadays? I vote "HERO", myself.

1:49PM PDT on May 28, 2011


3:23PM PDT on May 18, 2011

I voted 'yes!'

12:11AM PDT on May 18, 2011

who remembered that great tommy steel song"water water every where not a drop to drink"

7:10AM PDT on May 16, 2011

Sadly just as the deserts were once oceans ,, the world turns and changes. Do what you can and pray for Gods will and guidence to do what his will is.

5:00PM PDT on May 15, 2011


8:30AM PDT on May 15, 2011

Thanks you for the article and the video.

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