For thousands of people living in the Solomon Islands, close to Cool Earth’s Orangierie Bay partnership in Papua New Guinea, this is a question that must be answered.
Six islands have had large swathes of land washed into the sea and on two of those, entire villages were destroyed and people forced to relocate.
One was Nuatambu Island, home to 25 families, which has lost 11 houses and half its inhabitable area since 2011, according to research published this week1.
Five islands nearby have completely disappeared due to rising seas and erosion. It’s a discovery thought to be the first scientific confirmation of the impact of climate change on coastlines in the Pacific.
The missing islands, ranging in size from 2.5 acres 12.4 acres, were not inhabited by humans. But many nearby inhabited islands are now close to submersion.