Six Sinking Islands

The waves are coming! Be it climate change born of human folly or natural environmental transformation, the ocean will soon swallow up many small islands, with entire regions next on the rising seas' menu.


Founded on a lump of phosphate rock 21 square kilometers wide, this is the smallest island nation on earth. Once economically prosperous, Nauru saw economic collapse as tighter limits were imposed on its offshore banking industry. Today more than 90% of the population is unemployed, and the waves are coming.


Tuvalu is the world’s second smallest island nation. The country relies principally on the sale of its popular internet domain extension  and foreign aid. If Tuvalu is washed away, websites with a .tv extension may be the only remnant of a once-proud island nation.


This tiny island state is built entirely on coral reefs. Only 298 square kilometers, the Maldives’ land is disappearing fast thanks to sea levels rising faster than the corals can handle. The country’s parliament recently tried to draw attention to their plight by hosting a cabinet session underwater.

77_meltdown_image5Venice, Italy

The ‘acqua alta’: a familiar phenomenon in which the island-city’s squares are flooded with ankle-high waters and the locals raise their glasses in plastic boots and canoes. Soon, however, the rising seas might completely overtake the city should a giant project to protect the entire lagoon with
gates not succeed.

77_meltdown_image6Lochachara Island, India

This mangrove island has the dubious honor of being the world’s first inhabited island to be completely submerged by the waves. When two thirds of the island was inundated in 2006 its 10,000 residents had to relocate and the rising seas now threaten 70,000 more living on nearby islands.

77_meltdown_image8World Islands, Dubai

After last year’s global economic crises, the giant artificial archipelago of islands built in the shape of the world across Dubai is sinking, both literally and economically, with islets built to host multi-million dollar villas simply dissipating under the currents. Investors’ nightmare or poetic justice? You decide.