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Reactions to the Movie ? "The Day After Tomorrow"


Reactions to the Movie ? "The Day After Tomorrow"

The movie "The Day After Tomorrow" provides a dramatic picture of climate change and sea level rise. Whilst the reality may not be as dramatic, climate change is nevertheless devastating for small island developing states like Tuvalu.

The adverse effects of climate change and sea level rise can be slow and insidious. For instance, sea water intrusion into our islands is causing our crops to die and our freshwater to be contaminated. Slowly and surely we are losing our food and our freshwater. Inch by inch, centimeter by centimeter our islands are being washed away by the rising tide. It is for the urgent addressing of these serious threats that the upcoming Mauritius International Meeting on the BPOA for SIDS is extremely important.

In the Pacific we are witnessing the slow but steady die-off of our coral due to increasing sea temperatures. Coral reefs are vitally important to our survival. They protect us from the ravages of the sea provide fish for us to eat. Similar effects are also happening in other regions; the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea.

But even today the effects of climate change can be dramatic as well. We are witnessing more severe and more frequent cyclones, which we believe are the direct result of climate change. Earlier this year, the small island nation of Niue was devastated by Cyclone Heta. Most of the buildings including the hospital on the island were severely damaged or destroyed. The same cyclone also caused severe damages in Tonga and Samoa.

Each year on the island of Funafuti in Tuvalu, we witness very high spring tides around February and March. When these tides arrive sea water comes bubbling up from the ground, and floods large areas of land. People have to wade through water to get to their houses. These high tides are getting worse and for a country whose highest point is only 12 feet above sea level this is a worrying trend.

So while the movie may give the impression that climate change and sea level rise is part of science fiction, for us in Tuvalu and small island States it is a reality.

We must all work together to address climate change. No nation, no matter how big or small, can ignore the fact that climate change is here. It is happening. We must seriously question our reliance on fossil fuels, which is the cause of global warming and climate change, and move quickly to develop viable, environmentally friendly renewable energy sources. We must also be more efficient with our energy use.

As stated by Ronald Emmerich, Director/Producer of the movie, "At the core of any 'disaster movie' there always has to be something factual, something real for the audience to grab on." And that something is that small island States like Tuvalu are at the frontline of impacts of climate change. Let us hope that we are not the first to disappear because of the effects of climate change and sea level rise.

28th May 2004

Permanent Mission of Tuvalu to the United Nations 800 Second Avenue New York, NY 10017

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