As the icebergs begin to melt and sea waters cross over the coastline, many homes are in danger of being lost forever. Among such places, the islands of Tuvalu are also in dangerous waters. Situated halfway between Australia and Hawaii, this Pacific Island nation which is made of 9 small islands, is home to a population of about 12,000 people. With rising waters, the government of Tuvalu has decided to become a digital nation by entering into the metaverse.
In the metaverse, the islands will exist in a virtual medium. Tuvalu's move comes as a strong political statement where the problem of climate change is still minimized.
Against the Tide
According to a 2018 research paper, the sea levels at Tuvalu islands have been rising at approximately twice the global average. With this change, the nation's capital Funafuti is in grave danger of submerging under water. At high tide, over 40% of Funafati's area goes under. Not only this, many experts believe that the island, home to thousands, would become uninhabitable by the next 50 or 100 years. With the acceleration in climate change, this span can further be reduced.
Future Now Project
"Our land, our ocean, our culture are the most precious assets of our people." At the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, Tuvalu's foreign affairs minister, Simon Kofe, declared his intention to move the country to the cloud to protect the country's assets, if only as a digital archive. He gave this address in the digital metaverse replica of Teafualiku, an islet on the northern part of Funafuti.
Tuvalu's move is a global appeal. Efforts towards de-escalating climate change can save thousands of lives, if not more. "Only concerted global effort can ensure that Tuvalu does not move permanently online and disappear forever from the physical plane," Kofe added in his statement. Incidentally, Tuvalu is one of many nations to upload itself on the metaverse. Earlier, the city of Seoul and the island nation of Barbados also declared their intention to enter the metaverse, although not at the same scale as Tuvalu.