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The First Victim of Global Warming: Kiribati Island

Updated on November 16, 2013
Kiribati
Kiribati
The ocean toppling over the sea wall
The ocean toppling over the sea wall

This remote nation consisting of 33 atolls along the equator in the Pacific is the first to actually be impacted by global warming results and rising sea levels. Locals there state it first began in the late 1990's, when they noticed that the tide levels were becoming much larger than normal, Like many, they brushed it off as an anomaly, yet the water rose and breached the tide walls more often than not, flooding land and homes, destroying causeways that linked the islets of South Tarawa where some 100,000 people live.

The atolls have been there more than 1000 years and islanders have also, and while there were occasional high tides and flooding in the spring, the late 90's saw bigger and more destructive tides that seawalls crumbled easily. The tides now occur not just in the spring but much more frequently. Some of the villages are now gone due to the slow, steady rise of the ocean and its tides. The ground water is now not drinkable. Tides now occur even twice a day!

Scientists believe that by 2100, the ocean levels will have risen three feet. They are 95% sure the result is from global warming caused by various forms of air pollution creating the greenhouse effect. China is creating even a worse problem and quickening the dilemma. For instance, in Harbin, in October, the particulate index in the air was 1000, which is 700 more than what is deemed hazardous to human life. Singapore is the third largest culprit and emitter of greenhouse gases from fires to clear land by farmers.

All of this pollution travels around the world and more is added to it by other nations creating a greenhouse where heat is trapped more and more. As the polar regions melt, the ocean levels rise. Even parts of Miami, during high tide, has serious flooding issues in the coastal areas than has got worse since the late 1990's.

The canary is warning us. But, are we listening?

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