Where on Earth is Dot tv?
By: Leo Wiegman
As one of the youngest nations on Earth, Tuvalu could be among the first countries to disappear from the face of the Earth as rising sea levels render some islands uninhabitable.
Just over 11,000 Tuvaluans live on the 9 atoll islands of Tuvalu. Tuvaluans have inhabited their archipelago for thousands of years.
Located about midway between Hawaii and Australia, Tuvalu won its independence from Britain in 1978 and became the 189th member of the United Nations in 2000.
Today, Tuvalu earns significant income from commercializing the “.tv” internet domain name, selling beautiful postal stamps and from commercial fishing in its Exclusive Economic Zone of nearly 350,000 square miles.
Sea level gauges on Tuvalu’s largest atoll, Funafuti (see beautiful beach shown below), document that the water has been rising approximately twice as fast as the global average. A leading cause of sea level rise is fossil fuel use in our buildings, manufacturing and transportation.
The highest point on Tuvalu’s 10 square miles of land area is just 15 feet above sea level. Will a nation underwater still have an Economic Zone to call its own? Is the future Drawdown’s Solution of ocean farming?
The 2018 IPCC Special Report, Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees C, makes clear that any increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases will increase ocean temperatures, triggering coral extinction, ocean acidification and sea level rise.
If global average temperatures rise by less than 2 degrees C, only 70-90% of the world’s coral will be wiped out. At 2 degrees C, virtually all coral reefs will be extinct. No surprise that the most vulnerable nations, such as Tuvalu, were the most vocal in calling for this latest IPCC report on the difference between 2 degrees of warming and just 1.5 degrees.
Did we mention the gross domestic product per capita of Tuvalu is $3,800 (in 2017 dollars)? If every Tuvaluan has to uproot and move, how is Tuvalu going to fund that? Carbon emission in the atmosphere is a double curse for Tuvaluans and the millions of others who live on low lying atoll islands. First, as mentioned, rising sea level takes away the soil under their feet. And second, accelerating acidification of the ocean water kills the coral that are the breeding and feeding grounds for the sea life upon which their livelihood has been based for hundreds of generations. First, you get flooded out. Next, you starve for lack of harvest. We are messing with both geology and chemistry to the detriment of biology.
Why should 11,000 Tuvaluans be among our earliest climate refugees, because the rest of us failed to draw down carbon? Would it not be a tragedy that one of the youngest among nations is the first to die?