Here we are, finding ourselves talking about the same old problem – climate change. While it’s fortunate that more people have started to believe in the phenomenon and to accept the blame as belonging to mankind, it’s unfortunate that big oil companies are still funding movements to decrease that belief.
But as time passes and the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions are growing, more and more effects of global warming that were predicted years ago have started to manifest. One of the most recent and large-scale effects of the sort is how five Solomon Islands sunk because of rising sea levels.
Five sunken islands
A team of researchers from the University of Queensland led the research, going through seventy years’ worth of local knowledge and historical imagery of 33 different South Pacific reef islands. Five of these completely disappeared between 1947 and 2014. Six others suffered severe shoreline recessions of more than twenty percent, and two had to be emptied and the locals relocated.
But while some islands are sinking and being eroded, other are slightly growing. The team examined two different areas in their attempts to understand while some islands grow and other are submerged – the northern Isabel Province (who lost the largest amount of land) and the Western Province’s Roviana area (some islands grew while others shrank).
It turns out that just as predicted by climate specialists, sea level rise caused by climate change is going to be one of the greatest challenges for humanity to overcome over the next century or more. While the Climate Change Agreement might change things for the best, the bulk of the harm has already been done.
Rising sea levels
So what happened following the islands sinking? First of all, a Pacific Island provincial capital had to be moved and its more than 1,000 residents had to be relocated. This sparked other communities to start moving their homes, as they started on what they referred to as a ‘migration with dignity’.
But while the human populations can mostly take care of themselves, the plants and animals on some of the islands are pretty much doomed. According to the experts investigating the situation, the entire ecosystem of the area is going to be completely overturned.
Surprisingly, the United States was also recently hit by rising sea levels as a consequence of climate change. In this case, a community in Louisiana was granted $48 million by the United States government because it had started sinking. This marks the first, but definitely not the last US community that has to be displaced because of climate change.
Image source: Flickr