Would you believe if I said, your everyday leisure car drives and you being completely ignorant about turning on unnecessary lights all around your house intersects with putting hundreds of people’s lives at risk on an island thousands of miles away?
Tuvalu is the name. Dive into the western pacific ocean from Australia and take a swim to Hawaii, if you are lucky you might land on a tiny island nation on the way to get some rest. With a 24km long coastline, Tuvalu is home to Turquoise beaches and reef islands nesting sea turtles, tropical fishes, and a variety of uninhibited sea birds. The chain of 9 atoll islands is nearly 100 meters wide and only has an elevation of 2-4metres above sea level with a landmass lesser than 10 square miles. (30 times smaller than NY)
Sounds like an amazing summer destination? Take a flight from Australia to Funafuti, the capital of Tuvalu to explore the amazing Island. There are only two flights a week, which leaves the airport runway a huge amount of time to be used as the biggest soccer field by the locals. With only 11 thousand Tuvaluans on the island, all the people together form one giant Tuvalu family. There aren’t many accommodation options, but don’t worry there will always be a place for you if you are planning a visit. Tuvalu is the least visited country by tourists with an average of only 1600 people visiting the island nation every year, most of them being volunteers appointed by the UN. Rent a bike to look around the island, take a dive into the pacific ocean, or look around the world war II sites to know the island better. Interact with the locals, only to realize how they treat you like their own and when you leave back home you will know you always have a family away from home.
If this sounds like your kind of vacation spot, plan your trip real quick, as the island is going to be around only for a couple of more years. Nature’s not being nice to Tuvalu. Climatic changes, rising sea level, frequent storms are causing catastrophic reactions, completely swamping up the island from time to time. Coral reefs act as natural boundaries for the island protecting it from High tides and varying sea levels. The increased climate change is resulting in bleaching of Coral reefs and the complete destruction of the marine ecosystem. The island is hardly 2 meters above sea level and on a bad day, King waves(1.2 meters high) are already hitting the houses of people on the island. With the current rate of water level rising, it is believed by some experts that Tuvalu will disappear under the sea in the next 30 years.
Global Warming and Climate changes may sound like futuristic terms to people like us, sitting at comfy homes sipping a cup of hot coffee, watching our favorite TV show but for people in Tuvalu, it is a nightmare. They are the pioneers in the race to extinction and what’s happening to them today will definitely happen to us tomorrow.
There are 500 atoll islands around the world and all of them suffer from local and global environmental issues. Tuvalu is sinking and this is a lesson to learn.