A letter from… Tuvalu, Polynesia
Our island is just 26 sq km, so climate change and rising sea are the major issues that we face. If there is no wind at high tide, we are happy, but when high tide comes together with strong winds it makes things worse than we expect. The seawater doesn’t only come from the shore, it bubbles up from the middle of the island and seeps through all over the place, making the land unfit for cultivation. The inundation of water threatens our food security and we have frequent droughts.
We have come up with new ideas to meet the challenge, such as raised gardens. We plant in buckets so that we can move them at high tide.
One of the most difficult problems I encounter as Climate Change Officer is that people do not respond well to the issues we face, because of their traditional understanding of the story of Noah.
They are really stuck on the idea that God will never again send a flood to destroy humanity – older people especially. They try to ignore the reality of climate change, trusting too much in the missionaries and biblical absolutism….
Maina Talia is Climate Change Officer in the Tuvalu Christian Church, a partner of the United Reformed Church. He was talking to Kenwyn Pierce.
This is an extract from the April 2016 edition of Reform.