Squint your eyes at a map of the South Pacific. 

Squint so hard they close. Now imagine a place where the people came from the sea, are sustained by the sea, return to the sea. A place where the highest point above sea level is a five-meter tall pile of sand dredged from the lagoon, where ATMs are a thing of the future, and where the community gathers for Sunday picnics on the international airstrip that only sees landings twice a week…

Are you still squinting? Good.

You are in Tuvalu.

The first Polynesian outriggers are thought to have brought early inhabitants to the archipelago that is now Tuvalu some 3,000 years ago. Sustained by an intimate knowledge of the sea, and by the harvest of fish and coconut, Tuvaluans have lived a life of relative abundance on these atolls of thousands of years.

But all that's changing. A low-lying island nation, Tuvalu sits on average just two meters above sea level. 

Because of Tuvalu's small land mass and vulnerability to rising sea levels, it has been identified by the United Nations as the country most at risk of losing sovereignty due to climate change.

Now faced with rising sea levels and a warming climate, a younger generation of Tuvaluans will be forced to consider the possibility of another migration. A migration that is not of their own choosing, but rather, is made necessary due to changes in our climate that are rendering their lands increasingly dangerous and difficult to inhabit. 

The following photographs show Tuvaluan children playing in the ingredients of climate adaptation infrastructure on Funafuti, the capital island. They leap from artificial mounds of sand, which has been dredged from the lagoon to build up the island's landmass -- an effort to prevent mass migration-- and plunge into the frothing, rising tides. 

Collapse the Distance

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