Events and Exhibitions
Water is Rising
On November 10, 2011, musicians and dancers from the Pacific Atolls performed at the Center for the Arts in their New England Premiere. While at Wesleyan they visited the Introduction to Environmental Science course and an advanced music course in addition to leading a master dance and drumming class for participants.
Water is Rising brings together thirty-six artists from the islands Kiribati, Tokelau, and Tuvalu. Located where the equator meets the date line, these coral atolls are unique geological formations that hold treasures of marine life. They are remote, isolated and vulnerable to changes in the environment. With elevations of only 2 to 3 meters above sea level, life on these tiny atolls demand a deep respect and understanding of the forces of nature. Scientists report that the vulnerable coral atolls of Kiribati, Tokelau, and Tuvalu are already experiencing rising sea levels as a result of global warming and climate change. They come to inspire us all to be better stewards of our shared planet.
Survival depends on communal values and cooperation; music and dance are keys to developing and expressing these values. For centuries, oral histories, spiritual teachings and the social values of Kiribati, Tokelau, and Tuvalu were danced and sung rather than written in books. Village gatherings in the maneaba (meeting house) are not complete without music and dance; therefore, virtually everyone on the islands has hundreds of songs and dances memorized. An element of competition is common at these social occasions; two groups face each other as they alternate dances and delight in each other as they show off new compositions.
This is the first time performers from these nations have been invited to tour the United States and the immediacy of climate change provides the frame within which these artists share their stories of atoll life. In their thousand-year history, nothing has prepared them to cope with the current rise in sea levels and the looming potential of relocating their entire population, yet their sincere message is infused with their positive and faith-based outlook on life. Learn more about these areas and the project here.
Inspired by their interaction with 12 members of Water is Rising, students from Introduction to Environmental Studies taught by Kim Diver in Fall 2011 compiled a selection of facts about people and places that will be effected by sea level rise. Their work is listed below:
11,600 The number of people displaced in Tuvalu in the event of it being swallowed by the sea
Pryadarshi, N. Feb. 4, 2011. Climate Change Will Force Millions of People to Migrate. <http://earthday.ning.com/profiles/blogs/climate-change-will-force>
40 The number of million of people displaced by a 1 meter sea level rise in India.
de Shirbinin, A., and Warner, K., and Erhart, C. Jan. 13, 2011. Casualties of Climate Change: Sea Level Rise Could Displace Tens of Millions. <http://climateemergencynews.blogspot.com/2011/01/casualties-of-climate-change-sea-level.html>
7 The number of milion of people displaced by a 1 meter sea level rise in Vietnam (Mekong Delta Area).
544 The amount of people (the entire population) in Shishmaref, Alaska threatened by rising sea levels.
750,000 The number of people affected by a 1 meter rise in sea level in South America.
1 Billion people worldwide at risk of being displaced by a 1 meter rise in sea level.
15 The number of million people in Bangladesh displaced with a 1-meter rise in sea level.
28,542 The number of people in Morocco displaced with a 6-inch (152.4 mm) rise in sea level.
21,378 The number of people in New Zealand displaced with a 6-inch (152.4 mm) rise in sea level.
560,000 The number of people in Guyana displaced with a 1 meter rise in sea level.
13,132,741 The number of people (16%) in Egypt impacted by a 1.4 meter rise in sea level.4,732,734 The number of people in Latin America and The Caribbean impacted by a 2 meter rise in sea level.
13,132,741 The number of people in Vietnam (35%) impacted by a 5 meter rise in sea level.
3,465,940 The maximum number of people in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States who would be affected by a 1 meter rise in sea level.
10 Percentage of world’s population living in vulnerable coastal lowlands less than 10 meters above sea level.
70 Percentage of the world’s population that lives on coastal plains.
10 Percentage of land by 2100 that could be lost in Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, and Virginia Beach by a projected 1 meter rise in sea level.
978,000 The number of people in Vietnam displaced with a 1 meter rise in sea level.
168.3 By 2080, the amount (in millions) that the damage to Peru will cost due to flooding of infrastructure, houses and fisheries.
1.5 The amount of people (in millions) that must evacuate Alexandria, Egypt if there is a .5 meter rise in sea level.
46,683,288 The number of people in Southeast Asia and northern Australia that a 1-meter rise in sea level would affect
25,981 The number of Alaskans facing displacement in the event of a 1 m rise in sea level.
13,557,709 The population in the Amazon Delta Region that would be affected by a 1-meter rise in sea level.
12,242,182 The number of people in Northwestern Europe that would face displacement after a one-meter sea level rise.
107,940,000 The global population affected by a one-meter sea level rise.
150,000,000 The number of people in the world displaced by 2050 with a 0.09 m to 0.88 m rise in sea level.
72,000,000 The number of people in China displaced with a 1 m rise in sea level.
180,000 The number of people in Senegal displaced with a 1 m rise in sea level.
11,000 The number of people living in Tuvalu, all of whom will be displaced with a 0.88 m rise in sea level.
9,000 The number of people in Tonga displaced with a 1 m rise in sea level.