vanishing islands

Science, real science, tells us we’re changing the climate faster than Nature has been.

One of the effects is sea level rise, which is usually stated in such miniscule numbers we don’t feel the impact.

The impact is real. More ferocious storms, higher tides, sunny day floods and so on.

Here is Tuvalu, a tiny atoll in the Pacific, found by Polynesian navigators thousands of years ago…


I’m aware of this island because the Mom of Opetaia Foa’i of Te Vaka (they did that awesome music in Moana) is from here. Also, it looks like a nice place to visit… while it’s still above sea level.

Just south of here, in the Chesapeake Bay is Eastern Neck Island. I’ve kayaked around it many times. The geology is different: it’s a sandy shoal rising above the bay, not an atoll (the top of a submerged mountain). It’s not much smaller than Tuvalu.


It has the same issue: sea level rise.

Also, this…


…another small bay island, Tangier. Smith is to the north, in Maryland, adn similar, but larger. Tiny Tangier was visited by Hawaii’s voyaging canoe, Hokulea in the summer of 2016. Hokulea’s voyages connect awareness of sea changes in our environment. Tangier is one of the earliest colonies in the US (the Native people did not seem to want to live there), and still speaks a dialect of English that is hundreds of years old.

It is vanishing beneath the waves.

Chincoteague lies on the Atlantic seacoast. It is part of a barrier island system that stretches up and down the sandy mid-Atlantic coast. It is protected by healthy salt marshes and by the outlying barrier island of Assateague (all refuge, and national and state parks). Barrier islands roll with the punches, literally, sand moves and redeposits, new sandbars arise, the old island rolls landward. Chincoteague may survive, though it may get harder for humans to live there as storms create more flooding.


I have been to two of these islands, another is within reach, in my backyard, the other belongs to a culture I admire. They all belong to our Island Earth.

All of these places are significant.

And if we don’t do something, if we let corporate greed, or fear of change (the need to cling to old ways of making a living or creating energy) we will first drown these places, then more.

My google moment for the day…

Presently about 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of the coast. As population density and economic activity in the coastal zone increases, pressures on coastal ecosystems increase.

In the US, it looks like this…

 In 2010, 123.3 million people, or 39 percent of the nation’s population lived in counties directly on the shoreline. This population is expected to increase by 8% from 2010 to 2020.



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