There is a section of the population that firmly believes that climate change is not a serious threat. You can often hear them saying that climate change news is fake news. However, there are many people out there who have witnessed and suffered the consequences of climate change. If you speak to a representative of a climate change organization or you join a climate change protest, you will get many real stories to hear.
Rising sea level is one of the consequences of climate change. In this article, we will share a story of two islands that disappeared due to rising sea level. According to the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, two islands have already vanished and four are likely to disappear in the near future. Betet Island is now 1 meter below sea level. Gundul Island is now 3 meters below the surface. Why don’t you search these islands on Google Maps? One of these two uninhabited islands was a part of Berbak-Sembilang National Park. If no serious efforts are made at the global level, the rising sea level will consume four more islands in this region. If the sea level is raised by 4 meters, these four islands will also disappear in the near future. These four islands include Burung Island, Kalong Island, Salah Namo Islan and Kramat Island.
The elevation of Burung Island is at sea level. Salah Namo Island and Kalong Island are 4 meters above sea level. The sea will swallow Kramat Island if its level is increased by 3 meters. This area has 23 small islands. Some of them are uninhabited. However, there are people living on some of these small islands. There is a small population living on Salah Namo Island. Rising sea levels due to climate change is a threat to Indonesia and other archipelagic countries. The disappearance of the two islands is a warning. There are millions of people living in these countries. Most of them are living in low lying coastal areas. There are roughly 17000 such islands in total. People living on the Salah Namo Island know that one day their homes will be completely consumed by the seas. Many families have built their homes away from the places where they once used to live.
There was no human population on this island 50 years ago. In 1970, some people moved to this island to grow rice. Many of them became fishermen. Large fields in front of houses were common back in the 90s. Children playing and people exercising there was a common scene. However, things are changed now. Many families have moved to other places. You cannot see large fields anymore.
In 2018, UNESCO declared Bedbak-Sembilang National Park a world biosphere reserve. This park is home to kingfisher birds, Sumatran tigers and mangrove areas. Indonesia and other tropical countries are more vulnerable to rising sea levels and other effects of global warming. People living in South Sumatra depend on oil, natural gas and coal. These are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases.
This story shows that climate change is a real and serious threat that must be addressed immediately.