How Climate Change Affects Oceania

Climate change is becoming an increasingly pressing issue, affecting more and more people in the world. The effects of climate change are noticeable everywhere in the world; however, they are most easily spotted in the coastal areas, such as Oceania.

The ones suffering the most from this man-made phenomenon are coastal communities in Oceania whose homes are being destroyed by rising sea levels and erosion.

Unfortunately, these are not the only changes these people are facing on a day-to-day basis. Let’s take a closer look at the other ones.

Abandoned Homes

Communities who are living on the Pacific coast rim and who have lived there for centuries and generations are being forced out of their homes. For example, on the Torres Strait Islands, 15 communities have been identified as being at risk of rising sea levels. This is alarming, since these are the people who most stick to the rules of nature and for whom the sea is the whole world.

The same thing is happening in Papua New Guinea, where 30-35 communities need to move to a higher ground or completely relocate if they want to save their lives.

Destroyed Food and Fresh Water Sources

The oceans, including their volume, temperature, and chemistry are changing. The sea is becoming hotter and hotter, which is unpleasant both for marine life and for people. The locals are reporting that there are less and less fish, and the ones they manage to catch are not good to eat. Dead fish washing up on the shores is becoming a regular occurrence.

Irresponsible land use that does not care for the environment and the local communities is causing people to the very edge of survival. The actions that are affecting the sea and the communities in Oceania the most are oil and gas production, sea-bed mining, logging, and palm oil plantations.

What Can Be Done to Remedy the Situation

There are numerous organizations throughout Oceania who are trying to help people deal with the changes they are experiencing. For instance, these organizations teach communities in Samoa and Tonga how to maintain sustainable fishing practices and how to prepare for the prolonged droughts or extreme rainfall that they will surely soon experience.

Many communities are building stronger houses and installing wind turbines and solar panels to prepare for the oncoming issues. However, this all might be in vain if the rest of the world does not change their practices and standpoint on life as well.

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