SANNE ZURNÉ

The Republic Kiribati - a small  island state in the middle of the Pacific - is sinking. Scientist say that if the sea keeps rising, by the end of this century Kiribati might be among the first countries to disappear from the world map.

In 2019 I traveled three times to Tarawa, the main island of Kiribati. The islands face problems and one wonders how long Kiribati will be livable. Houses flood on a regular basis, soil has become barren, the drinking water salty. But life on Kiribati is still as easy and carefree as ever. The I-Kiribati play volleyball, make music, laze and laugh.

I
 came to Kiribati expecting to find a place planning for its own destruction, but instead I found a people that live like nothing is happening to them. Somehow they can't imagine that their house won't be there. A nation disappearing off the map is something that’s never happened before and, so far, is something people seem unable to imagine.

O
ne day I confronted a young woman with the possible destiny of her country. She looked at me for some time, then asked me: "Sanne, do you really think we're going to sink?"


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