Accelerating sea level rise could dislocate one of every 10 people on the planet, setting off massive economic, stability, and cultural disruption, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. The dislocation of 900 million people living in coastal areas would amount to “a mass exodus of entire populations on a biblical scale,” Guterres warned, driving “ever-fiercer competition for fresh water, land and other resources.”
The Senagalize fishing town of Saint-Louis is one of the legion of communities already facing that climate change-fueled dislocation. Rising tides and flooding have destroyed homes and a school in the town, forcing more than 300 families to relocate five miles inland to a makeshift tent settlement devoid of all the ocean brings.
“When I was a child, every morning we used to go to the sea to swim, to play hide and seek,” Khadi Sarr told NPR. “Our kids nowadays won’t have that opportunity.” “God has pushed the sea up to our houses,” Sarr’s husband Mamadou Thiam, a fisherman who grew up in the town, said. “Climate change destroyed many homes.” (UN: The Guardian, AP, Washington Post $, Inside Climate News; Saint-Louis: NPR)