Due to the effects of climate change, one of the world's most beautiful small nations might disappear.
Facing Threats TogetherPatrick Aventurier/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
The Alliance of Small Island States is a coalition of 44 island nations that are all calling for action to combat climate change. Tuvalu, the smallest, is already in serious danger.
Unique LandsAshley Cooper/Corbis Historical/Getty Images
Tuvalu is one of the smallest nations on Earth. It is made up of three reef islands and six coral atolls.
Still, Tuvaluans have their own language, money, music, cuisine, culture, and history, all of which are extremely endangered by climate change.
Island HistoryWikimedia Commons
Tuvalu was first settled by Polynesians. Europeans had no idea it existed until it was spotted in January 1568 by a Spanish sea captain.
From 1892 to 1916, it was a member of the British Western Pacific Territories. Then, it was called Ellice Islands. Tuvalu gained full independence in 1978 and joined the United Nations in 2000.
Changes In PolynesiaTorsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images
As the Pacific Ocean absorbs higher levels of carbon dioxide, the saltwater becomes more acidic. As a result, reefs around the Pacific island nations are vanishing and eroding.
British TiesPool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge visited Tuvalu in 2012 during a Diamond Jubilee tour representing the Queen.
FloodingPatrick Aventurier/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Tuvalu's highest point above sea level in this beautiful island is only about 15 feet, so it's easy to imagine the ease with which it could simply sink into the sea and never be seen again.
Land Succumbs To The SeaTorsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images
More trees and sands are being lost to the waters. As rising tides and cyclones threaten the archipelago, even this coconut palm tree is falling in the eroding sand.
The First Victim Of Climate ChangeAshley Cooper/Corbis Historical/Getty Images
Material ExcessRyan Goebel/Moment/Getty Images
Waste disposal has become an issue on the island, so trash often ends up on beaches. Ironically, if humans had a perfect solution for the storage of all the trash that we create (and throw in the oceans), we could start on the path to reversing global warming.
Damage DoneHandout/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Coral ReefUllstein Bild/ullstein bild/Getty Images
Most of the coral reefs around Tuvalu are being bleached by the rising water temperature and the acidification of the sea.
Hurricane WindsHandout/Getty Images News/Getty Images
A Tuvaluan woman and a boy save their pig during a flash flood.
Cyclones don't only destroy buildings—they also cause food scarcity, saturate the land with salt, and strip away crops that are vital to trade and production. Nowadays, Tuvaluans are at the mercy of foreign imports.
The Fate Of The Country
Check out this amazing speech by Ian Fry, the Tuvalu delegate to the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. He pleads for action to be taken to save Tuvalu and other island nations.