23 Jun 2009
Posted by timecurve
Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation halfway between Hawaii and Australia, and the second least-populated independent country in the world (behind Vatican City). It isn't a place I've given much thought to in my life. For me, growing up in North Carolina, that part of the South Pacific was an abstract concept caught somewhere between a world war and a Broadway show; scary but glamorous, distant but beckoning, in essence, the picture postcard view. But my attitude changed substantially this past weekend thanks to the Floating Land Festival in Noosa. Subtitled Rising Seas and Changing Climates, part of this year's festival focused on the plight of Tuvalu, the first nation in the world that will become uninhabitable because of global warming. A group of low-lying reef islands and atolls especially susceptible to storm patterns and changing sea levels, it's estimated that a rise of 8 to 16 inches (20-40 centimeters) will be enough to destroy life on these islands. During the weekend visitors to the festival had a chance to experience the joy of Tuvaluan dancers and singers presenting traditional performances (pictured), as well as view exhibits and photographs documenting their plight. A part of the Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II still recognized as its official Queen, Tuvalu's Royal anthem is “God Save the Queen.” It's a strange bit of irony, I think, considering the fact that little or nothing can now be done to save the nation of Tuvalu.