King Tides and Exodus in the Marshall Islands
September 16, 2016 2:23 AM   Subscribe

With a global mean temperature rise of 1.5℃ (video, direct .mp4 link) the Marshall Islands, site of the US's Bikini Atoll nuclear weapons tests, may disappear completely. With most islands just six feet above sea level and less than a mile wide the ring of atolls is already severely affected by climate change. ⅓ of all Marshall Islanders are believed to live in the US, although they may face deportation. In recent months the residents of the Pacific island nation have been advised to cease eating fish after elevated levels of PCBs were found in the waters around the US missile base on Kwajalein Atoll. Recently, very previously, previously, previously, personal anecdotes.
posted by XMLicious (13 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Spelunking through Wikipedia's lists of governments in exile, states with limited recognition, lists of former countries, and related pages, I'm not sure whether we even have a term for something that's kind of like a government in exile, except that the territory it governed has been physically destroyed.
posted by XMLicious at 5:12 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]




Wait, the US doesn't automatically give citizenship to Marshall Islanders? Isn't that the least you could do after 20 years of using the tiny and fragile nation as a nuclear firing range, including Castle "whoops, that was way bigger than we expected, sorry about the fallout" Bravo.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:41 AM on September 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


The stories of the Marshall islanders trying to get by in an increasingly less habitable place are harrowing. A taste of what's to come for the whole world.
posted by Joe Chip at 6:42 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Marshall Islands are part of the Compact of Free Association which allows their citizens visa-free travel and relocation within the US, as well as permitting them to travel to US facilities elsewhere in the Pacific to access US government services. But they're a separate country, as are the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau who the Compact also applies to, and evidently from those Radio New Zealand stories Marshallese can be deported.
posted by XMLicious at 6:59 AM on September 16, 2016


These last few weeks have been particularly depressing on the climate front
posted by glaucon at 7:32 AM on September 16, 2016


I graduated from high school in the Marshall Islands - Kwajalein Island to be exact. This makes me very sad.
posted by COD at 7:32 AM on September 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Somewhat related, eleven islands in the Solomons (maps link) have been lost to the ocean... If there are any beautiful little tropical islands that you've ever wanted to see, well, there isn't going to be a 'later'. Guardian link.
posted by Zack_Replica at 9:21 AM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I’m Alaskan. This year, for the first time in my life (and i am not young), all of the mountains surrounding me that normally have a little snow on them through the summer have none. This follows the mildest winter in recorded history here.

I used to point out to people how much my local glacier has retreated within my lifetime; now things are really starting to get freaky.
posted by D.C. at 10:34 AM on September 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Spelunking through Wikipedia's lists of governments in exile, states with limited recognition, lists of former countries, and related pages, I'm not sure whether we even have a term for something that's kind of like a government in exile, except that the territory it governed has been physically destroyed.

When these atoll countries became independent, they were expressly sized so their sovereignty would be a source of income: postage stamps for collectors, and seignorage (i.e. they mint coins that get exchanged for dollars and then disappear into the desk drawers and bedrooms of coin collecting schoolchildren around the world.) That died before the islands started sinking, but they do still have economic rights to the surrounding waters, and we need treaties that will help the refugees hold on to those rights and use them to build new lives wherever they migrate to.
posted by ocschwar at 11:18 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


This list says that the Marshall Island's EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone, the area of the sea they have jurisdiction over not counting "internal waters"; diagram) is more than twice the size of China's, with several other Pacific island nations even larger.
posted by XMLicious at 12:00 PM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


An image of what might happen
posted by mumimor at 10:32 AM on September 17, 2016




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