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What will we do about Tuvalu when it dies as a nation?

Tuvalu is the third smallest nation of the world [10,000 people] and is likely to be the first eliminated by global warming. This will likely happen with 50 years, possibly 25 years.
So what do we do with the 10,000 people, the culture, the nation? Is it just eliminated like so many tribes of the past?
Do they have any rights on the global community? Does the world have a responsibility?
What should we be talking about?

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    Jul 17 2011: .
    And to know that Tuvalu is the world's "happiest" society, according to the New Economics Foundation's "Happy Planet Index". We are allowing the happiest to perish, instead of analysing and learning from them, to know why they're happy and we are not.

    I guess we'll have to move out those people and give them new homes. I suggest we give them, for housing, the White House, the Schumann Building (E.U.) and the Reichstag, and the Forbidden City in Beijing. For starters.
    • Aug 1 2011: love it.

      they are getting sadder as the salt waters destroy their crops.
  • Jul 17 2011: What will happen to the world if we cannot solve a tiny problem like Tuvalu destroyed by global warming.

    We could ignore this issue. 'Its their problem, they can just move somewhere else'.
    And yes, 10,000 will not make a difference anywhere in our world [except maybe the small islands where they actually want to go].

    Tuvalu has ZERO influence. They are of no consequence globally. YET they are the first TEST for global support for a global problem. We cant just throw money at them, frankly, they dont want it.
    They want everyone to solve the problem, not the consequences of the problem.

    So what happens when 100,000 need to move because of global warming destroys their environment?
    OR 1,000,000?
    OR 100million?

    Rising water will destroy the arable land of the poorest and most intensively farmed regions in the world. They must therefore move to someone elses home.

    My great grand-mother was from what is now called Tuvalu. My father and brother look more like 'Islanders' than I do. I look classically European, I am only 1/8th.
    I live in the wealthiest part of Auckland New Zealand. In my work I can live anywhere in the world.

    I was in Antartica when the whole in the ozone layer was 'discovered' and I will never forget the head of the US climate investigation team and Reagan-advisor crying into in Red Wine [I even remember it being Jacob's Creek] because he knew the world would do nothing about what was happening and he feared for his grand-children.
    I fear for my Children and their Children.

    What will happen in the world if we cannot solve a problem like Tuvalu?

    What do you suggest?
  • Jul 24 2011: It is important that you ask these questions, Ed, since you are ideally positioned to do so!

    But tell me, what do the people of Tuvalu think? What do they suggest?

    Coming from a tiny island state as I do (Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies), and concerned as I am about a similar threat (social, rather than physical) that is threatening to engulf my country, I suspect that there is hardly any unanimity on the subject, locally... And that the situation will certainly not be different, internationally.

    So what can enlightened people (like we are, presumably) do, beyond asking questions?

    I suspect that, short of a catastrophe like the recent Japanese tsunami, we can - at least - document the facts of how we've got where we are, and where we're heading. Like you've now done in your personal case. YES, more of us need to do that, which in and of itself points to the answer to your question! To our questions. And to others' questions... about our children... which is to say, questions about the future.
    • Aug 1 2011: My questions and views are heavily influenced by my 'uncle', Sir Sione, the then Prime Minister. ... what do we do when... the local people are in denial and the world does not want to comprehend the implications....

      My money is that nothing will be done. People will panic at the end.

      In fact, Tuvalu will be engulfed, the people will scatter into other countries and the world wont care because their own issues will be far more disasterous to them.
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    Aug 16 2011: Q: What will we do about Tuvalu when it dies as a nation? A: Watch on TV. Or perhaps flip the channel to something more interesting....
  • J G

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    Aug 12 2011: Hi Ed

    I am sorry about what is happening in Tuvalu.

    I was looking on the internet ways to protect a land from sea floods, ways to gain land fron the sea or even ways to rise the land level. These are some of the examples I have found:

    - Dubai - Making artificial islands with stones and sand

    - Other examples of artificial islands or land reclamation

    - Projects to protect land from sea floods
    Mose project to protect Venice

    Delta project to protect the Netherlands

    - Curious case of Bangladesh which is gaining land from sea naturally

    I haven't found much about rising the land levels of a entire area but I guess it would be a case of using lots of stones reinforced with concrete.

    I wonder if is there anything that can be learnt from these examples, or any other examples, not sure if it helps to think in an appropriate solution that may save Tuvalu.

  • Aug 12 2011: I do understand your points yet lets be clear... Easter Island was there fault. The old Greenland. Deforestation, nearly always their fault. Nearly every example, its the cultures fault for environmental catastrophe. You cannot level that at the Tuvaluans. They have no enivonmental impact.

    A tsunami wiping out Tuvalu would have little global impact. Now if 10,000 Californians dying of car population, now suddenly the world would be expected to mourn. Frankly, the similar could be said about 9/11.

    I want to beleive that we are smarter that just isolation or expecting the mass of people to wake up. The masses are only moved by stories. 'Free Mandela'... did Apartied have any impact on the world outside South Africa? Were 90% of Black South Africans better lives under Apartied? It does not matter, the world pressured the Whites and the regime changed. Positively in my view.

    Tuvalu is the best story we have. We ignore it to our doom. Thus the strategic people understand that we need to make the world aware and emotionally embolden by their plight, not because we can save the country, yet because to ignore their story and future means we destroy our kids future.

    We aren't worrying about some coastal property washing into the sea, we are talking about global conflict on a level never seen before as those who lost their land and incomes encroach on everyone else.

    You can ignore and not care about your neighbor suffering a crime wave yet dont complain when it hits you.
  • Aug 12 2011: Jason, a couple of points:

    1. the rise and fall of tribes, civilisations, countries is natural. this will be the first destroyed by man's collective impact on the environment [i believe]. this is one we can blame on everyone rather than governments or dictators. And as such it is a great call to arms. it is the canary in the coalmine.

    2. i believe the Tuvaluans have the right to support to keep their community together even if they country is dead. the question is how.

    • Aug 12 2011: Ed, a couple of counter points...

      1. it isn't. Easter Island says hi, as do various Mesa Indian tribes. This may be the first one as a result of climate change, but certainly not by impact on the environment. As you said, this is a country of 10,000. There have been larger cities evacuated and left dead due to environmental damage.

      That said, I do understand your point, and yes, it is a call to arms, and I support said call wholeheartedly.

      2. They have a right to try and preserve their culture, but don't know about a right to "support". Frankly, their entire society is built on a perilously small area, with a perliously small gene pool. Serioulsy, they're barely larger than the Vatican. One good tsunami and we don't have to worry about climate change. What are we to do with a population of 10k? Build a reserve? Ask the native north americans how that worked out for them.

      Like I said, cultures rise and fall, and for us to recognize that climate change has felled this culture should be enough. If these people are martyrd to wake the rest of the world up, that may be the best thing that could happen. I don't want this to sound harsh, but with only 10k of them, there's really not much hope for saving them in any formal way outside of isolation. It might be better to focus on action than preservation.
  • Aug 11 2011: May I suggest a brand new pier foundation?

    Ok, perhaps that joke is in bad taste. Ok, maybe not "perhaps". But still, the point is, I don't think you have a solution here, or that one is necessary. Their's will not be the first or last civilization to disappear in this world. That is not to say that it isn't a loss, or that it isn't worth addressing, but rather that trying to "save" it, is a fool's errand. I would hope the Tuvalans are given status in a neighboring country and able to integrate within that community, and eventually be absorbed by it.

    However, I do see it as a valuable call to arms on climate change. This issue is already far enough progressed that some damage is inevitable. People WILL be displaced. Patterns of life WILL have to change. We WILL have to adapt.

    More than anything, though, I think this is a call to arms to pursue clean renewable energy.
  • Aug 1 2011: Problem is Caroline the following...

    Rising sea levels and global warming are beyond doubt. Go to Tuvalu and the evidence is clear. The question is the causes and ability to counter causes.

    My articulation of the problem comes from my 'uncle', Sir Sione, who was Prime Minister at the time of telling.

    I shake my head at your comment... 'I'm sure that this nation has faced and will face many problems that threaten their viability as a nation.' Huh? No they haven't faced rising sea levels that will make their nation uninhabitable.

    Pardon my direct comments yet I am not sure you appreciate the seriousness of this situation. At the Copenhagen climate talks the Tuvaluan delegate made global press for simply breaking into tears of frustration at the inactivity of nations.

    I am not sure where you live in the world, yet if Tuvalu goes, 500million people will have to move within 20 years of them. Now that is the recipe for WW3.
  • Aug 1 2011: Good question, but I think based on erroneous belief in global warming and rising sea levels as inevitable.

    Climate change is a reality, but the global warming sea levels rise in my understanding comes out of models based on limited data.

    Ed, I think we shouldn't pre-empt the 10,000 folk of this tiny nation by articulating a problem for them. I'm sure that this nation has faced and will face many problems that threaten their viability as a nation. Best to hear their framing of their issues, in dialogue with other nations.
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    Jul 25 2011: Ed, consider also that after the leader of Nauru made his speech in the UN recently, the United Nations Stalemates on Climate Change and Security