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  • Writer's pictureMichael Roman

A Global Warning

The closeness I now found myself with the ocean weighed heavily on my mind.

I heard about global warming back in 1999. I was watching a newscast covering Millennium celebrations around the world when a tiny island in the Pacific was highlighted for being the first to welcome in the year 2000. The anchor described the scene,

Kiribati becomes the first in the world to see the new Millennium... and have a good look at this island because um, you won’t get to see it for much longer. It's actually so low in the sea that the ocean is threatening to submerge it and one day will. We’re told in thirty years’ time, Millennium island will simply not exist any longer.

I did not know that I would be sent here when I saw that newscast. Many heard about global warming, but as I, knew very little.

Mikaio, an elderly language teacher, believed there was nothing to worry about because God promised Noah never to flood the Earth again. “Kiribati is a Christian country with many good people and believers, Mike. Don’t worry, we believe in God, and God is good. He would never harm us with a flood.”

As a Catholic, I took comfort in his words and decided not to worry about global warming. However, inside, it weighed heavily on my mind. Our talk occurred atop of a newly constructed seawall meant to protect his property from the ocean. We talked about many other things that evening before preparing luggage for a Host Volunteer Visit on Abaiang Island, and before sleeping, I wrote to my family back home in the USA.

Dear Mom and Dad,

It’s so beautiful here but scary too. I heard about this thing called global warming before I left home, and I wonder if it’s true. Being here sure makes it real to me. But, I guess I trust the US Government, they wouldn’t send us here if they thought it was a severe threat. I asked Mikaio what he felt about Global Warming. He assured me it was nothing serious. You know, Mike, he said, people talked about Kiribati disappearing back in the 80s and they are still here. He told me not to worry about a thing. I wish I could feel as carefree as he.

Photo Credit: Raimon Kataotao

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