Quantcast
Popular
Anote's Ark

Stunning Documentary Examines Kiribati's Unrelenting Sea Level Rise

To some, climate change might feel like a distant problem that does not affect our everyday lives. Some even treat the global phenomenon with downright indifference or label it a "hoax."

Of course, climate change is not a faraway threat. The destructive effects of a warming world are very real and are felt today, especially in the low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati.


The island republic could become one of the first countries to disappear from sea level rise, as Director Matthieu Rytz shows in his feature documentary, Anote's Ark, a stunning film EcoWatch is honored to sponsor at the 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival.

Kiribati is made of 33 coral atolls with most of the land only a few feet above sea level. Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned that global average sea level rise could reach up to 8.2 feet by 2100.

Scientists predict that Kiribati could be completely swallowed by rising seas and storm surges within decades. Its 100,000 residents have already felt the impacts of climate change, including high tides that inundate their homes, flood their crops and contaminate their drinking water supply.

Rytz's documentary follows former President Anote Tong's mission to keep his country and 4,000 years of rich cultural history above water. Literally.

Tong, who served as president for three successive terms from 2003 to 2016, races to find options, from advocating in international climate negotiations to investigating the possibility of building underwater cities or even floating islands.

Tong has warned that islanders will inevitably have to start leaving Kiribati because of rising waters.

"Relocation, no matter how undesirable, must therefore be the brutal reality of the future of atoll island nations, and part of the solution," he said in 2016.

Former Kiribati President Anote Tong.Anote's Ark

The documentary also follows Sermary Tiare, a young mother of six, who must decide whether to leave her home and migrate to a new life in New Zealand.

Rytz spent four years traveling between his home in Montreal to Kiribati to make the feature-length film.

"I feel honored, and also entrusted with a great responsibility, to tell this small nation's story before it disappears," he said.

"I want this film to give a voice to the people of Kiribati. I want the world to see their commitment to caring for people, their respect for the natural world, and their dignity and grace as they face the loss of their entire country," he added.

"They are leading by example, and we must listen, and learn from them, before their fate becomes our own."

The Cleveland International Film Festival kicks off on April 4. Anote's Ark will be shown on April 10 and 11.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Energy
An activist adjusts his hat while protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline during the Native Nations Rise protest on March 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. The KXL has been at the center of a contentious fight for a decade. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

KXL Pipeline Developer Plans to Start Construction in 2019

Construction on the long-delayed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline is planned for 2019, developer TransCanada said Monday.

"Keystone XL has undergone years of extensive environmental review by federal and state regulators," TransCanada spokesman Matthew John told Omaha World-Herald. "All of these evaluations show that Keystone XL can be built safely and with minimal impact to the environment."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Artist Ricky Lee Gordon paints his mural, Wings of Paradise, on a building in Long Beach, California. David McNew / Ricky Lee Gordo / Greenpeace

Wings of Paradise: Drawing Attention to Rainforest Destruction

By Alexander Navarro

For too long the story of Indonesian forests has been painted with the darkness of burning rainforests, disappearing species and displaced communities. Greedy palm oil companies, that only seem to be driven by the bottom line whatever the cost to humanity or biodiversity, have played a major role in this.

Keep reading... Show less
Science
The ICESat-2 will point lasers at Earth's ice sheets. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

NASA's New Space Laser to Measure Earth's Changing Ice

NASA will soon activate the "most advanced laser instrument of its kind" to study Earth's changing polar ice.

The incredibly precise Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) is the main feature of the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) that successfully launched into space from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sept. 15.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The Atlantic wolffish is already at risk from oxygen depletion. Nilfanion, via Wikimedia Commons

Oxygen Loss in Canada Linked to Climate Change

By Tim Radford

Oceanographers have identified an act of slow suffocation, as oxygen loss grows near one of the world's richest fishing grounds, and are linking the change to human-triggered global warming.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Business
A Co-op grocery store location in Shoreditch, London. The Co-op Group / CC BY 2.0

Supermarket Becomes First in UK to Replace Single-Use Plastic Bags With Compostable Alternative

Since 2015, all large stores in England have been required by law to charge five pence for single-use plastic bags in an attempt to reduce plastic pollution.

Now, major UK supermarket chain the Co-op is taking that one step further by phasing out plastic bags entirely and replacing them with compostable alternatives, becoming the first supermarket in the UK to do so, The Guardian reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Tiger: Bernard DuPont (CC BY-SA 2.0); Wolf: John and Karen Hollingsworth /USFWS

Tigers and Wolves: The Reigning Cats and Dogs in Conservation?

By John R. Platt

Do the species most in need of conservation also receive the most scientific research?

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
A tiger in Dhikala, Nepal. Ranjith Kumar 2016 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Wild Tiger Population Nearly Doubles in Nepal

Thanks to dedicated conservation efforts, Nepal now has an estimated 235 wild tigers in the country, a nearly twofold increase from its baseline of 121 individuals in 2009, the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) announced Sunday on the occasion of Nepal's National Conservation Day.

The South Asian nation is now on track to become the first country to double its tiger population as part of WWF's "TX2" goal to double the world's wild tiger population by 2022—the next year of the tiger on the Chinese zodiac.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
North Carolina hog CAFO in Hurricane Florence floodwaters, Sept. 18. Larry Baldwin / Crystal Coast Waterkeeper / Waterkeeper Alliance

In a Warming World, Carolina CAFOs Are a Disaster for Farmers, Animals and Public Health

By Karen Perry Stillerman

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I've joined millions who've watched with horror as the Carolinas have been inundated with floodwaters and worried about the various hazards those waters can contain. We've seen heavy metal-laden coal ash spills, a nuclear plant go on alert (thankfully without incident), and sewage treatment plants get swamped. But the biggest and most widely reported hazard associated with Florence appears to be the hog waste that is spilling from many of the state's thousands of CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), and which threatens lasting havoc on public health and the local economy.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!