Neglacting the Marshall Islands

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By: Amelia Meyer

In the early 50s the United States Atomic Energy Commission announced the establishment of Pacific Proving Grounds on about 2000 islands in the North pacific, including the Marshall Islands.  They conducted over a hundred nuclear tests there. In the Marshall Islands the United States conducted more Nuclear Testing there than in any other location in the world. This has had a significant impact on their health for the past few decades. There were several serious birth defects and an abundant amount of cancer cases throughout the Marshall Islands. In 1990 the Marshall Islands were paid over seven hundred million dollars to compensate for the radiation health issues. However this is not nearly enough to repay for the lives lost and defects that were caused.

Now the Marshall Islands are suffering significantly again. Climate change and rising carbon dioxide levels have affected many impacts of our world in the past few years. One serious issue is sea level rise. Cities all over the world are suffering from impacts of flooding and sea level rise. Severe weather, warmer ocean temperatures, and the melting of the glaciers have significantly affected sea level rise. A country that is impacted the most currently is the Marshall Islands.

Over the past couple years there have been dozens of floods throughout the Marshall Islands. These stem from stronger storms and a variety of weather events. However it’s mostly from the rise of the sea level surrounding the whole country which is composed of over a thousand Islands and over twenty coral atolls. Around seventy thousand people live in the Marshall Islands but many natives are moving to Arkansas. Why?

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the floods and many babies, children, and adults have floated away. The citizens of the Marshall Islands are so terrified of the water that they want to be as land locked as possible. Therefore they have been moving to Arkansas. If they have not moved yet they are planning to. Unfortunately the Marshall Islands will not last long because of Sea Level Rise. It is expected that by 2020 most of the Islands will have sunken under the water. This is also an environmental risk to the Ocean and aquatic ecosystems because of the Nuclear Testing that was done earlier. Overall the Marshall Islands have been neglected and suffered a significant amount due to Climate Change and Nuclear Testing and the country and its residents deserve attention and support from society.

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