Polynesian people make up less than 1% of the U.S. population, many have never heard of us and many never will. We live on tiny islands spread throughout the South Pacific, most of which are not identified on world maps. The upside to being tiny and distant is that most of us are able to keep our country, culture and lifestyles undisturbed and untouched by modernization. The downside to being tiny and distant is that we are losing our land mass due to rising ocean levels as a result of global warming and climate change. We are losing our homes, literally and the western world is completely unaware of this.
Neighboring countries of Australia and New Zealand have been working with locals on relocation and migration, this is heart breaking and hard to deal with as no one wants to forced out of their homelands for such reasons. Evacuation has begun but isn’t quite in full effect yet as many residents want to hold on to their homes, their lively hoods and their culture for as long as possible. While islands have not yet been completely submerged the evidence of the forthcoming doom is obvious throughout our lands. Beaches are significantly smaller or have disappeared all together, the taste of sodium is apparent in most of the crops; have you ever put salt on your sugarcane? It isn’t the greatest treat.
Two very sad components are in play here, the western world, with all the technology and waste being produced do not have to witness the damage they are causing first hand, much of them will never know of the existence of Tuvalu even after it is gone. It is easy to continue with the devastating effects of one’s lifestyle when one is unaware of the consequences. Even sadder though are the local Polynesians who dread the day they must leave home and who have no idea of the ignorance on the side of western countries. In Tuvalu, there is no outburst of anger towards greater countries for what is about to happen, only pleas for help. Pointing fingers at this point isn’t going to save our homes, all we want is help to keep our homes for as long as we can.