by: Shierly Mondianti
“It’s disturbingly easy to write off a country you’ve never seen.”
A month ago, we shared on Facebook a CNN article regarding the effects of climate change on the Marshall Islands. At WorldTeach we send hundreds of volunteers to the Pacific Islands. Many of our alums started the program with little to no knowledge of the pacific islands, but they left with invaluable memories of their daily interaction with the local community.
The telltale signs of a disappearing island is obvious. One of our WT alums shared this with us:
“I spent a year on Majuro with WT and lived with a family at Laura Beach. During that year we lost nearly 3 feet of beach to high (King) tides. It is a scary thought that beautiful place is surely doomed to be no one’s home but simply a watery grave for the lost ancestors. Putting myself in their place I can’t imagine how it must feel to be leaving my ancestors, my dead parents, grandparents and other family members. When you become elderly, as I am now, you have more past than you do future so memory fills much of your time…”
Hence, when CNN reported on how 2 degrees is all it takes for a country like the Marshall Islands to disappear, it becomes all the more urgent that we address the problem of climate change.
As outsiders who have no connection to places that are far away from us, it is very simple to brush off news about climate change in general. We don’t see or feel the effects of climate change as those who are in the pacific islands. While they are losing their livelihood from constant flooding, we don’t realize how our actions contribute to the catastrophe on the other side of the world.
Thus, it is important for us to be informed and to expand our horizons. Just because a country is out of sight doesn’t mean that it is out of mind.
To read more about the CNN finding: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2015/06/opinions/sutter-two-degrees-marshall-islands/
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