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Did you know there are 58 Small Island Developing States around the world? They’re at risk. Here’s why.

Some of Earth’s most biodiverse islands are under threat. Fiji, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Palau and more of the Small Island Developing States and Member Island Territories (SIDS) are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather and climate change. We must act now, before it’s too late.
 

In light of the recent Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption, part of the proceeds from this capsule will be donated to Red Cross New Zealand to support the people of Tonga and the affected surrounding Pacific islands.

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What are the SIDS?

Home to around 65 million people, as well as unique flora and fauna, the SIDS are made up of 38 UN Member States and 20 Non-UN Members. They are a group of low-lying, small island nations that share similar sustainable development challenges due to climate change, natural disasters and economic shocks. One of them, Tonga, was dramatically affected this week by an underwater volcanic eruption, with the effects being felt by many nearby countries.

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What’s threatening them and why?

Because of their small size, remoteness and exposure to natural hazards, the SIDS are the most vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather and climate change such as the increased severity of cyclones, storm surges, heavy rains, droughts, sea level rise and ocean acidification. Natural disasters like these can destroy communications, energy and transport infrastructure as well as homes, health facilities and schools.

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What happened to Tonga?

On January 16th 2022, the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai underwater volcano in the South Pacific violently erupted, causing severe tsunamis to hit Tonga's largest island, Tongatapu and sending devastating waves flooding into the capital. The eruptions caused a plume of ash, gas and steam 12.4 miles into the air and phone connections to go down—cutting off Tongatapu from the rest of the world. Red Cross New Zealand is working to provide urgent aid to the people affected.

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Where are the SIDS?

They’re located across the Caribbean, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea. From Fiji to Palau, these low-lying islands need our attention. With rapidly rising sea levels threatening their very existence and the prospect of people losing their homes, livelihoods and more—we must act now.

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Did you know islands are home to around 20% of all bird, reptile and plant species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world?

Islands harbor unique biodiversity and ecosystems from mountainous forests to wetlands and more, providing food, fresh water, wood, medicines, fuel and other important raw materials that support livelihoods, economies and cultures. They also help maintain ecosystem functions such as nutrient cycling, soil and sand formation, climate and disease regulation and more.

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How can you help?

  • By raising awareness and educating around these low-lying islands at risk of extreme weather and climate change
  • By donating to emergency humanitarian relief organizations like Red Cross New Zealand to provide urgent aid
  • By protecting coastlines through mangrove tree planting with organizations like SeaTrees or FoProBiM.
    • Why? Mangroves trees are very useful in the fight against the causes of climate change and reduce the impact of the effects of it too
    • Like other plants, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce oxygen
    • They also offer physical protection for low-lying island coastlines

      Part of the proceeds from this capsule will be donated to Red Cross New Zealand to support the people of Tonga and the affected surrounding Pacific islands.

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