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The Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Indigenous Communities in Panama

Climate

Indigenous communities in Panama are living the reality of melting glaciers and sea level rise. They certainly don't need to read the recent study by researchers at the University of California Irvine and NASA that includes 40 years of observations finding that six massive glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector “have passed the point of no return,” to understand the impacts melting glaciers have on low-lying islands.

Filmmaker Patric Riggs portrays two indigenous communities that are grappling with tradition and modernization in response to rising sea levels in his Action4Climate video Desplazada. The nearly 10-minute film with English subtitles provides first-hand accounts of climate change impacts on their culture as these Panama communities literally watch the seas wipe away their home.

Unfortunately, the NASA study doesn't show relief coming anytime soon. It says, “The collapse of this sector of West Antarctica appears to be unstoppable. The fact that the retreat is happening simultaneously over a large sector suggests it was triggered by a common cause, such as an increase in the amount of ocean heat beneath the floating parts of the glaciers. At this point, the end appears to be inevitable.”

The Action4Climate video competition received more than 230 entries from 70 countries from students inspired to share their climate change stories. To watch other Action4Climate videos, click here.

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