Letters | 6-25-14
Oceans are rising and affecting our islands now
Contrary to the assertions of climate-change deniers such as Dave Chrisman in West Hawaii Today on June 19, the oceans are rising. Just ask any of the 106,500 residents of Kiribati who have had to vacate their homes to move to the one island still above sea level.
The people of Tokelau are currently dispersing throughout the Pacific because their home islands are nearly submerged. The Tokelauan Language Project was established on Oahu to preserve their language and culture for children who will likely never see their island nation.
The entire Cateret Islander population of Papua, New Guinea, was forced to relocate because of rising seas. The small island country of Tuvalu is poised to evacuate its entire population, which will thus become a nationless group of people. Micronesia, the Solomon Islands and Wallis and Futuna Islands are in the process of evacuation planning.
The governments of other endangered islands, including those of the Philippines, Maldives, Seychelles, Palau, Cook Islands and Barbados, are carefully monitoring sea rise and preparing for evacuations. The U.S. keeps a wary eye on endangered coastal cities such as Miami and New York.
Emperical knowledge is usually the best, so I urge Chrisman to get on a plane to Oahu to research for himself the fact that the seas are rising and affecting our islands now. This is not a figment of anyone’s imagination — meet North Shore residents who are desperately trying to save their homes from ocean encroachment and visit with Kailua home owners who will show him how big the beach once was and how small it is now.
If Chrisman’s house was in danger of being swallowed by the sea, he might be inclined to have a different outlook on the reality we currently face.