Encroaching Seas

Rising ocean levels are threatening homes, livelihoods and traditional cultures

Landlocked Islanders

By Krista Langlois


 

As the ocean seeps into homes and buckles roads, it’s shifting from a source of inspiration to one of fear. Some Marshallese have already started to plan for relocation. Yet unlike other climate refugees—people from the island nation of Kiribati buying backup land in Fiji, for example, or the family from Tuvalu seeking climate refugee status in New Zealand—the Marshallese know exactly where they’ll go. An agreement that came into force when the Marshall Islands gained independence in 1986 allows any citizen to live and work in the United States indefinitely, without a visa or green card.

Troubled waters ahead for Solomon Island residents

By Priestley Habru


 

There are troubled waters ahead for a Polynesia group of people within the Melanesian country of Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. Residents of the remote Polynesian islands in the archipelago Ontong Java (commonly referred to as Lord Howe by Solomon Islanders) are seeing their home slowly disappear under the sea.

The disappearing sands: One man’s battle against climate change in the Torres Strait

By SAILA HUUSKO


Olandi Pearson, an elder from the island of Poruma in the Torres Strait, walks the shoreline of his home to show the effects of erosion caused by climate change. Pearson was born on Poruma but was forced to leave in 1964 owing to a water shortage. Since his return in 1985 he has kept a close eye on rising sea levels and coastal erosion, hoping something will be done to stop the sand disappearing.