Kiribati is a Pacific nation located on 33 small coral islands, 20 of which are uninhabited. In the near future, everyone else may become uninhabited – due to global warming, the level of the world’s oceans is rising, and the first to feel it is those who live in its immediate vicinity.
Every year, sea level rises by one centimetre. This is critical for islanders who only rise by 1.5-2 meters above sea level. In the village of Eita, you can already swim without going far from home – right outside.
“It’s gotten really bad,” says Beya Tiim. – We used to be flooded once every 3-4 years, but now every three months. Most wells are flooded with salt water. I fear for my children and for Kiribati’s future.”
Locals try to plant mangroves themselves, which grow in the tidal range and are a natural protection of the land from erosion. However, this type of vegetation has been rapidly dying out around the world due to climate change.
Waves are actively eroding the coastline, penetrating the soil, destroying vegetation and freshwater sources.
Many islanders have already built ingenious rainwater harvesting and storage systems.
Due to rising water temperatures, corals – the main reef builders – are also dying out at an alarming rate. There will soon be no one to restore the land that has been devastated by the waves.
One of the most common male activities in Kiribati is fishing. Fish is the basis of the local people’s diet. Fishermen have always returned home with a rich catch. Recently, however, problems have also begun with fish – populations of different species are shrinking and it is becoming increasingly difficult to catch food.
After the flood, the asphalt road on Tarawa Atoll, where the capital is located, was destroyed. “Now we hate the sea,” the locals say. – It gives us food, but one day it can take away our land…”