A federal agency has awarded $3.8 million to the East-West Center to help Hawaii and several Pacific island nations cope with the effect of climate changes.
The five-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will help to bring together scientists and decision-makers to help Pacific communities respond to changing climates, East-West spokesman Derek Ferrar said.
The areas included in the Pacific Regional Integrated Science and Assessment program are the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, and American Samoa.
YAP, Federated States of Micronesia (Alertnet) – Giant tides inundated the remote atolls of Micronesia last December, scouring beaches, damaging homes and inundating banana and taro crops. The President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Emanuel Mori, declared a nationwide state of emergency and relief rice was shipped in.
But on several atolls in Yap, one of Micronesia’s four states, taro planted in elevated concrete pits survived.
"This is a way to save the people here," said Stephen Mara, an agriculture teacher at a high school in Yap.
Devastating tides, called "king tides," are one way sea level rise will manifest itself across the western Pacific in the coming decades, said Charles Fletcher, a University of Hawaii coastal geologist and co-author of a recent report on food security and climate risks in Micronesia.
Long before Pacific islands drown, as politicians and the media often predict, the islands may become uninhabitable from a lack of food. Fletcher, in particular, doesn’t think life on the atolls can last without constant humanitarian aid. But concrete may provide a respite, at least temporarily.