CBC Radio: How one Pacific island nation is battling rising sea levels
Listen to CBC Radio’s ‘The Current’ host Anna Maria Tremonti’s discussion with Kiribati’s former president Anote Tong.
Kiribati may be a minuscule island nation in the Pacific but its former president, Anote Tong, is one of the loudest voices in the fight to combat global climate change.
Until 2016, Tong presided over the scattered atoll — currently boasting a modest population of 100, 000 — and over the decades, he has seen the degradation caused by rising sea levels and warmer oceans:
“Where I went to school in the 1960s, it used to be one of the larger villages on the island. That village is no longer there because it has been washed away.”
As more and more headlines emerge of Kiribati residents fleeing the islands to become the world’s first “climate change refugees,” Tong has pushed hard for programs that will build resilience in both Kiribati’s infrastructure and its citizens.
“I’ve always rejected the notion that we should be refugees. And the reason I say that is because we know it’s going to happen. If it happens we should have had enough time to prepare our people for that,” he says.