Human Wrongs Watch

By Joeteshna Zenos*

4 August, 2016 (Greenpeace) Most of us know the story of coal miners and their caged canaries. When my seven-year-old daughter heard it, she was sad that the canaries had to give up their lives to warn the miners to get out. She asked me if miners still use canaries today and I reassured her: “No, we have come a long way since those days.” 

Young girls playing on a fishing boat in the village Te O Ni Beeki in Betio, on Tarawa Island, Kiribati. The Pacific Island nation is threatened by climate change and overfishing.

Young girls playing on a fishing boat in the village Te O Ni Beeki in Betio, on Tarawa Island, Kiribati. The Pacific Island nation is threatened by climate change and overfishing. Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

The truth is, sometimes I fear that we Pacific Islanders are the closest thing to those canaries. True, we are not choking on poisonous gases, but we are cornered and caged by incremental sea level rise, high tides that reach farther inland than ever before and saltwater intrusion.

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