No, it’s not a miracle of engineering – it’s sea level rise.

An article by InterPress Service outlines the increasing concerns of the people living on small Pacific Islands, as the next world COP summit on emissions prepares to convene in Durban.

Climate change is already a stark reality for the islanders. “Traditional knowledge about winds, seasons, rain patterns, the time at which mangroves can be crossed and what kind of clouds to look out for have become unreliable for the population, due to developments induced by climate change,” the article reports, highlighting the need for the Islanders to adapt.

But they may not have long to do so. “Samoa’s coastlines, for example, have eroded from a few to 80 meters, and people have relocated inland where territory is already partitioned.”

“High tides are frequent and continue to wash away our shorelines,” said Council of Elders member Ursula Rakova, about the 2,700 families living on the Carteret islands, 86 kilometres away form Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) main island Bougainville.

“Our biggest concern is that one fine day, a king tide will simply sweep over the islands and most or all people will be washed away without any trace,” she told IPS.

Recently, one of the islands was divided in half by rising waters.

ACT is part of the UWO-led research project, Coastal Cities At Risk, which will examine climate impacts for Manila, Lagos, Bangkok and Vancouver.

We are also planning our eighth session, on Population Displacement, for 2013.