Never heard of Kiribati? Well you have now:
As a tiny island nation makes a big sacrifice, will the rest of the world follow suit?
Kiribati, a small nation consisting of 33 Pacific island atolls, is forecast to be among the first countries swamped by rising sea levels. Nevertheless, the country recently made an astounding commitment: it closed over 150,000 square miles of its territory to fishing, an activity that accounts for nearly half the government’s tax revenue. What moved the tiny country to take this monumental action? President Anote Tong, says Kiribati (“Kir-ee-bas”) is sending a message to the world: “We need to make sacrifices to provide a future for our children and grandchildren.”
That is leadership that puts the “developed” world to shame. Isn’t it interesting that it is so often those who have the least, who give the most.
Kiribati looks to make the ultimate sacrifice by mid-century, when much of the country is projected to be largely uninhabitable. Rising seas will contaminate freshwater supplies, ruin agriculture lands, and erode beaches and villages, forcing its people to flee. Kiribati has done nothing to earn this fate—its greenhouse gas emissions are negligible and its population barely tops 100,000. …
Variations on this story are going to be played out again and again in the coming decades. There ain’t no justice.