Islands: on the front line of climate change

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Covering more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, oceans have an intrinsic relationship with weather and climate. Oceans absorb heat from the atmosphere producing winds, currents and storms that bring fresh water to land. Our oceans’ immense capacity to absorb excess heat has helped to mitigate rising global temperatures. But scientific studies show that our oceans are at a tipping point. We are seeing the impacts of global warming on oceans, from rising temperatures and acidity to increasing intensity of storms and flooding. And populations whose survival is dependent on the ocean, such as islands and coastal regions, are experiencing the worst effects of climate change.

Palauan islands are experiencing erosion attributed to mollosks eating away the limestone and the continual push from the tectonic plates beneath. The local community is amazed at the height of the tides and very strongly believe this is a result of climate change.

Palauan islands are experiencing erosion and increased soil salinity attributed to rising sea levels. The local community is amazed at the height of the tides and very strongly believe this is a result of climate change.

Lisa Hinde, Sustainability Manager in JLL’s Energy and Sustainability Services, recently visited the remote island nation of Palau located in the Western Pacific Ocean where climate change has become a daily threat to the country’s survival. As a participant of the Island Innovation Program, Hinde witnessed first-hand the magnitude of the challenge and how governments and businesses are working together to help.

“I see islands like Palau as the ‘canary in the mine’ of global climate change. The effects they feel, being low-lying and prone to tropical storms, show stressors sooner than other places in the world,” Hinde said. “If they are noticing sea level rise above traditional levels and are weathering tropical storms with increased intensity, then it is a warning to us in higher carbon-intense countries to understand our efforts are not enough and eventually we will not be immune to this change.”

Read more about Hinde’s experiences during her week-long research trip in Palau.


Lisa Hinde_headshot

 

Lisa Hinde is a Sustainability Manager based in Sydney, Australia with JLL’s Energy & Sustainability Services team. She works alongside corporate clients and affiliated industry bodies to advise on sustainability strategies for the built environment.

One thought on “Islands: on the front line of climate change

  1. Jennifer Fairchild

    Thanks so much for sharing your story Lisa- I especially liked that you shared how humanitarian efforts need to consider environmental impacts given the remoteness of many of these locations and and inability to process waste streams like plastic bottles. Appreciate your insight and contributions to JLL!

    Reply

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