Solomon Islands

Storm Surges and Rising Tides

Language English
September 15, 2011 7 p.m. local time

© 2003 Flickr/Luigi Guarino cc by 2.0

The Solomon Islands make up a chain of over 1000 islands in the South Pacific. They span over 280,000 square miles.

If you live in a coastal community on Ontong Java (one of those 1000 islands), you are faced with a real concern that your home might one day wash away. As with all other island nations, sea level rise caused by global warming is a major concern for Solomon Islanders.

© 2008 Flickr/Xplore Dive cc by 2.0

Entire communities are relocating to avoid catastrophes just like this as the tides get higher and higher. Islands with lower elevations are being hit the hardest. 80 percent of the population grows its own food, so a surge in salty water, combined with warmer temperatures, is making it harder and harder for families to feed themselves.

Climate change is projected to further reduce the production of key crops like taro root and kumara, through extreme events like cyclones and floods as well as drought, storm surges, saltwater intrusion, and changing patterns of pests and diseases.


Rodne Galicha is based on Sibuyan, an island in the Philippines that is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. He grew up near dense, lush forests and lived in the shadow of Mt. Guiting-Guiting, an area with amazing biodiversity that is home to many endangered plants and animals. The threat of climate change in the Philippines motivated Rodne to speak out to address these dangers.

Rodne is the Executive Director of Sibuyan Island Sentinals League for Environment Inc., a group that works to protect biodiversity and foster sustainable development. He has dedicated his career to making environmentalism a moral and spiritual imperative.