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How island nations are reckoning with climate change and sea level rise

Projections from the Marshal Islands for sea level rise in the next one hundred years. Reprinted from Sea Change: An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean by Christina Gerhardt.
Projections from the Marshal Islands for sea level rise in the next one hundred years. Reprinted from Sea Change: An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean by Christina Gerhardt.

The pieces of land that make up the Republic of the Marshall Islands are on average dozens of feet across and just a few feet above sea level. The United States Geological Survey projects that by the year 2035. some of the islands will be completely submerged.

Tina Stege is a climate envoy for the Republic of the Marshall Islands. She’s currently attending theUN Climate Talks in Bonn, Germany, and

is raising awareness about the existential threats facing her home country.”The projections that we are looking towards and this is with a 1.5-degree increase in temperature, the best case scenario,” she told 1A. “Between 2070 and 2090 we are looking at 20 inches of sea level rise. Now in a country where you are just six feet above sea level, that level of sea level rise makes many of our islands uninhabitable.”

Dozens of island nations are struggling with the immediate threat of sea level rise to their economies, ecologies, and culture. The new book “Sea Change: An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean” examines the complex challenges facing island communities across the globe from the Bahamas to Puerto Rico.

Environmental journalist and professor at the University of Hawaii Christina Gerhardt has spent years traveling to island nations and speaking with residents about the ways they’re adapting to the rising seas.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Chris Remington
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