For the residents of Bribie Island, global warming could have very real and devastating effects on our community. One of the main impacts of global warming is sea-level rise. Even now, islands such as the Maldives, Kiribati and Tuvalu are already grappling with the effects of rising sea levels. Although this seems like a far-away problem that we don’t need to worry about, it may soon have the same impact on our home, Bribie Island.
Today, global sea level is around 13-20cm higher than it was in 1900. It’s eventually expected to rise approximately 2.3 metres for every degree that climate change warms the planet. The main influencing factor of this issue comes from the melting of ice due to global warming, although the gravitational pull on Earth and the planet’s rotational spin also have minor effects on sea level.
The first signs of the rising waters will begin with minor and major floods becoming more common. Ocean flooding will contaminate land and drinking water, rendering Bribie useless before it’s even submerged. Coastlines, shores and beaches will also creep backwards, posing yet another threat to huge numbers of people.
So, what will happen if Bribie goes underwater? It’s not something that’ll happen overnight. With most of the island only about a metre above sea-level, the rising waters could potentially flood Bribie, destroying our houses and buildings. In 2018, there were approximately 33,000 people living on the island, and this number is undoubtably still rising. Many thousands of people will be forced to evacuate, leaving their worthless properties behind. This will cause problems for people looking for a new place to live; they may struggle financially after losing housing and businesses.
Since no one wants Bribie Island to go underwater, we need to figure out a way to help. Although we’re not going to able to completely stop sea level rise, there are a number of small things that we can all do to reduce its effects. Some of these can even help you save money, which is a win-win situation for everyone.
Simple things like taking public transport instead of your own vehicles, wasting less food and water, using energy efficient light bulbs and unplugging electronics that aren’t in use will all make a difference, especially if everyone does it. You should also think about making bigger changes such as powering your home with renewable energy, investing in energy-efficient appliances and driving a fuel-efficient vehicle such as a hybrid car.
Global warming has been identified as an issue for decades, but considering the scale of the issue, we really haven’t done much about it. We’re running out of time.