Islas Marshall

A concrete dome covers radioactive soil at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands. Credit James P. Blair/National Geographic, via Getty Images

There is no consistent air service to the coral atoll of Enewetak in the Marshall Islands, where the United States tested 67 nuclear weapons between 1946 and 1958. On my first trip to the capital, Majuro, in 2010, to study the danger posed there by the rising ocean, I managed to get on a special flight taking dignitaries to Enewetak for the dedication of a school. From there, I boarded a small boat to visit a nuclear waste dump that the world had all but forgotten.

The Marshall Islands are only about six feet above sea level. Its survival and that of other island nations are on the minds of negotiators gathering this week in Lima, Peru, for a United Nations climate change conference.…  Seguir leyendo »

As the world barrels toward a climate crisis of its own making, my country stands at the precipice. In the Marshall Islands, like elsewhere in the Pacific, climate change is no longer a distant threat, nor at the doorstep. Climate change is here.

No one can seriously contest that humanity’s carbon-polluting ways are the main cause of global warming, and that the consequences are set to intensify. As Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier this month to an audience in the Marshall Islands, “The science is clear. It is irrefutable, and it is alarming.”

Nowhere in the world is this threat more immediate than in the Marshall Islands, a loose string of more than 1,000 small islands a short plane ride southwest of Hawaii.…  Seguir leyendo »

For almost 70 years, my country, the Marshall Islands, has been fighting for its survival. Unfortunately, the threats we face are the result of forces we cannot control.

From 1946 to 1958, we endured the horror of 67 atmospheric nuclear tests. The most powerful was the “Bravo shot,” equivalent in power to 1,000 Hiroshima bombs. Now our residents are confronted by a different kind of atmospheric danger: the existential threat posed by climate change.

After a prolonged and unseasonable drought that began late last year, the severe lack of drinking water in our northern atolls led my government to declare a disaster area on May 7.…  Seguir leyendo »