Tuvalu 2011 (1)
Fisherman Laumau of Nukufetau atoll, Tuvalu, and his nets at the islet of Tepuka This is a tiny nation of about 12,500 people on a group of 8 atolls and a coral island just west of the International Dateline and 8 degrees south of the equator. Tuvalu means "Eight Together." It is one of the small island nations which has been demanding strong action to limit sea level rise from climate change.
The total land area of Tuvalu is only 15 percent that of Washington DC, but its ambassadors and diplomats have connected this tiny nation to the US and the world over the threat of sea level rise and stronger storms and sea waves. Kids at the Fongafali islet elementary school at recess.
Girls from the elementary school bike home on the main road of Fongafale islet, Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu, which is the seat of the national government. The islet is about 6 km long and often only slightly wider than the road. The main transportation is scooters and motorbikes, and bikes are seldom used even by kids.
As the day fades and cooler air moves in from the ocean, carpenters in the village of Kavatoetoe on Funafuti atoll rebuild the roof of the neighborhood Protestant church. Nearly everyone belongs to this church, in 5 congregations on this atoll, and it is a center of society in Tuvalu.
Preschool kids in the Tekavatoetoe village area on the south end of Fongafale Islet, Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu. This area of the island is in one of the lower areas of the islet, subject to tidal and storm flooding.
Mothers and Grandmothers wait with tiny kids at a preschool in the Tekavatoetoe village area on the south end of Fongafale Islet, Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu. 36 percent of the population is under 15 years of age.
At a bus painted as if for Valentines Day, men of Fongafale chat under a tree along the main road of the islet in Tuvalu. Many people have jobs with the government, others fish and own small businesses or get income from family members abroad. Tuvalu's GDP of $21 million is the smallest of any independent state.
Chores at dawn, Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu.
When he saw so many kids walking barefoot to the elementary school in Fongafale, Tuvalu, the Taiwanese ambassador to Tuvalu ordered more than a thousand pairs of sandals for the school to distribute to the children. Tuvalu gets foreign aid from many nations; leaders include Japan, Austrailia and New Zealand along with Taiwan.
In the heat of the tropic afternoon, many Tuvaluans rest in the shade of trees or on covered platforms called kaupapas.
Drummers from the outer Tuvaluan atoll of Nukufetau in rapid purcussion during an island celebration or fatele. The dances and songs are distinctive and in this case commemorate the building of the first school in Tuvalu after WWII.
Spectators at a soccer match sit beneath a solar PV array on the roof of the stands, which creates about five percent of the power for the town of Fongafale. Tuvalu is on a drive to replace diesel power generation by all renewable sources by 2020, and to greatly reduce other uses of fossil fuel.
The narrow islet of Fongafale, Funafuti, Tuvalu, has seen rapid population growth since the 1970s and many of its 5000 people have moved into flood and tide-prone areas. Some of these areas are on the edge of borrow pits (bottom of the photo) from which construction materials were taken.
Australian geologist Paul Kench leads a team into the forest of Tepuka islet across the lagoon from Fongafale, to continue his studies of the evolution and change of atolls -- new survey data adds detail to the kind of threat tiny island nations face as the climate changes. Please see the accompanying photo-essay "The Fate of Islands
Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu. The lagoon is about 18 km across and the island of Fongafale, the seat of government, is about 6 km long, and only a few tens of meters across at many points.
1. Tuvalu, tiny atoll nation of the Pacific
2. The fate of islands as sea level rises
3. Tuvalu high tide kids, six years later
4. King high tides flood parts of Tuvalu Part 1, Part 2
5. People and stories of Tuvalu
6. A Garden Grows in Tuvalu
8. Solar Power for Small Islands
9. A Village in Fiji
10. Measuring Carbon in Hawaii's Forests
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