Islands & Climate Change: Between Storm Surges & Coral Bleaching

                                               By Green pearls

Since the topic of climate protection came on to the political and social agenda the negative effects of climate change have been discussed more and more. While climate change affects all areas of life, rising sea levels combined with storms that are steadily increasing in severity, pose a direct threat to islands. Recently, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that the average sea level in 2018 was 3.7 millimeters above that of the year before and has reached the highest level since satellite measurements.

In recent years, rainfall, storms, floods, and coastal erosion have increased in intensity and frequency due to climate change. While not all islands are affected to the same extent by the shifting weather patterns, most are aware of significant changes and Instead of sitting idly by and waiting for the land to literally be washed away from under their feet some are actively working to protect their homelands and fragile ecosystems from the effects of climate change.

In the Indian Ocean the consequences of climate change can be clearly seen in the corals. In particular, rising water temperatures and increasingly fierce storms that cause severe damage to these tiny, sensitive animals, leading to coral bleaching and even coral death. On Filaidhoo in the Maldives the Reethi Faru Resort launched a coral conservation project In specially created underwater gardens, the resort propagates corals and plants them back into the house reef after about a year. The underwater gardens and house reefs also provide protection for the beaches and prevent them from being washed away.

Closer to home on Koh Samui, the sustainable resort The Tongsai Bay focuses on strategies to avoid greenhouse gases, including non-motorized water sports, bicycle rental for island tours, carpooling, and the avoidance of cars on hotel grounds. The resort has also supported the Green Island Foundation since its inception ten years ago. The organization’s main objectives are to protect the island’s climate and valuable ecosystems. For example, the Green Island Foundation has already organized car-free weeks on Koh Samui with the help of partners, such as The Tongsai Bay, to raise awareness of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.