When you think of climate change, you probably think of New York City flooding or Antarctica melting. And while these are unfortunate aftermaths, there are consequences that will change the lives of millions before any of that happens. Small Island Developing States, or SIDS, are, according to the United Nations, “A distinct group of developing countries facing specific social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities.” All three threats, economic, environmental, and social, are intertwined. If the environment is negatively affected, the economy will inevitably take a hit and the same with society.
You’ll recognize many of the countries in danger. Such as Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Fiji, etc. There are 52 SIDS in total.
These nations are most susceptible to rising water levels due to their low-lying terrains. The countries are so close to sea level that if actions aren’t taken soon, it will not be an “if,” but a “when” these countries disappear underwater.
Unfortunately, however, before these nations are underwater, the local environment will have already taken a toll. With climate change comes erratic weather. Natural storms will intensify, landslides will devastate, and droughts will sweep through the nations. These drastic changes will have detrimental consequences on the local environment. The landslides will increase the amount of runoff and sediment going into the oceans, picking up things that are toxic to marine life such as oil and plastic, etc. Intense and frequent storms are likely to result in the destruction of the coral reef. And droughts will lead to dry, fire-prone land, such as the fires currently blazing in Australia.
Thankfully the United Nations has safeguards and actions to implement to lessen the blow. The SIDS themselves have also begun to take the world’s fate into their own hands, but they’re going to need some help.