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Pacific Kiribiti islands ‘sinking’

An immigrant from the Kiribati islands in the Pacific is appealing to the Australian Government to help in evacuations, saying her homeland is sinking under rising sea levels.

A Sydney Morning Herald report quoted Wanita Limpus at a Climate Emergency Event in Brisbane as saying:

“In 1991 I was having breakfast in my sister’s home one morning when there happened to be a king tide and waves crashed over a retaining wall and swept into the house and we found ourselves up to our ankles in sea water in the kitchen. I was shocked at this, but my sisters were laughing…they were used to it.

“Salt water is mixing with the groundwater and contaminating wells. Soon vital food providing plants and trees are going to die. Our people are inevitably going to have to abandon their land.”

Kiribati – formerly known as the Gilbert Islands – is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island dispersed over 3,500,000 square kilometres off the north east coast of Australia. With few natural resources it relies on export of Copra and fish as well as aid from Japan Australia and New Zealand.

1 Comment

  • John
    Posted November 21, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Let’s say there is a small low lying island which has had crops grown for export for a number of years. Now, multiply the tonnage of crop exported by the number of years. For something like copra which is dried the total mass exported is the same as the total mass of material taken from the soil.

    Now let us imagine the same island having the soil stripped off directly and shipped around the world. The overall height of soil will drop over time and the sea level will appear to rise.

    Of course you could ignore all that and blame it on the weather.

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