A Visit to Tuvalu, Surrounded by the Rising Pacific

Fiona Goodall, a photographer working with Getty Images, recently visited the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, a country battling rising sea levels with limited resources. Goodall reports that high tides regularly bring flooding that “inundates taro plantations, floods either side of the airport runway, and affects people’s homes.” While a study released in February showed that Tuvalu’s land area had actually increased by 2.9 percent since 1970, due mostly to wave-driven beach buildup, the elevation of the nation’s nine islands was not growing—and the sea has been rising by approximately 0.2 inches (5 millimeters) every year, above the global average, since 1993. The government of Tuvalu is working with public and private groups from around the Pacific to develop hardy crops, shore up vulnerable beaches, and move toward a goal of becoming 100 percent renewable-energy dependent by 2025.

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