Photographer: Ashley Cooper
Where: Tuvalu — Funafuti Atoll
Publication: Rio Conventions Calendar
Tuvalu is on the front line of the battle against climate change.
Only 15 feet above sea level at the highest point (with many parts of the island lying at or barely above current sea levels), rising sea levels are increasingly putting the island population of 10,000 at risk.
Sea levels in the Pacific have risen slowly over the last 20 years and the rate of rise is likely to increase as ice sheets and glaciers melt more rapidly with ever warming temperatures.
Tuvalu is the smallest country in the world, only 26 km2, and most vulnerable to sea level rise. Already during the highest tides, sea water is forced up through the porous coral atoll and floods many low-lying areas of the island during the highest tides.
This salt water incursion poisons the thin soils and makes growing crops increasingly difficult, leaving Tuvaluans increasingly dependent on expensive imports.
Last year, drought – caused by a strong La Nina – left the country reliant on air drops of water by Australia and New Zealand.
The Rio Conventions Calendar is published annually by Entico in partnership with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).