Because of increasing glacial melting and warmer global atmospheres, Roman speaks openly about the present risks I-Kiribati (people of Kiribati) face from losing their homes entirely by rising sea levels and growing tidal surges known as king tides.
“As the behemoth storms become more intense and frequent, the violent tides roll in and gnaw the land right out from under their homes, leaving many areas under water and depleting their natural coral filtration systems for freshwater,” says Roman.
Placing blame for climate change, however, is not his goal. His aim instead is to actively spread awareness about the immediacy of the problem because, as he says, “time is running out.”
“It's scary for me to think, but many say Kiribati may be one of the first nations to go. If so, I want the world to know that we once were here. We were happy and we loved everything about Kiribati. If the seas continue to rise at this rate, Florida, San Diego and other coastal cities and states will be next,” he adds.
The latest climate models predict the world’s oceans rising 5 to 6 feet by 2100, completely inundating many of Kiribati’s villages as early as 2050 through the elevated sea levels and increasing storm surges.
“The changes we see today are much faster than anything encountered in Earth’s history. In terms of rate of change, we are in uncharted waters,” Katrin Meissner of the University of New South Wales, Australia, told USA Today. “Climate models appear to be trustworthy for small changes, such as for low-emission scenarios over short periods, say over the next few decades out to 2100, but as the change gets larger or more persistent, it appears they underestimate climate change.”