Sea level rise: threats and solutions

Rising sea levels are an existential threat to the populations of Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and other Pacific atolls. Not only homes and crops are at risk, but also the languages of Tuvalu, Kiribati and Marshallese. When people are forced to migrate, it is harder for them to retain their indigenous speech, so indigenous communities and linguists work together to document hundreds of existing languages. The Tuvalans, on the other hand, are trying not only to reclaim the land but also to create a digital clone of the country and thus survive for future generations. By 2100, 95% of the country’s lands may be periodically flooded by sea tides. Together with its history and culture, Tuvalu is to be the first fully digitised country existing in the metaverse.

In Sri Lanka, hundreds of fishing villages suffer from coastal erosion. Cyclones, rough seas and floods take away people’s homes and livelihoods. According to fishermen, the coast has moved several hundred metres inland in the last three years. In South Asia, tens of millions live along the coast and are exposed to extreme weather events.

As sea and ocean levels rise, seawalls and artificial coastlines are causing intertidal habitats to disappear. However, experts say artificial rock pools and crevices can save wildlife. They are called vertipools – vertical rock pools, i.e. an artificial environment that provides a safe haven for marine life in intertidal habitats. These spaces between land and sea are alternately exposed and then flooded by the tides.

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