Category: Islands & Shores

Transferring Costs of island Maintenance to Human Hands

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Tuvalu is about to test the resilience of its islands in a way that has never been seen before. In the next year or two there will be 4 new projects that will in one way or another alter the natural flows of sand and water that are part of the island’s natural defence and…


Information Support for Atoll Engineering

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For the first time in history the Tuvaluan people now have the capability to be able to make large-scale changes to their atolls and islands. With that capability comes a lot of potential for building resilience, but also the potential for serious damage. How it works out depends on the choices we make and how…


Tuvalu’s Islands in a Nutshell

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Tuvalu Atoll Formation It all begins, at least from the human perspective, with Darwin’s 1842 theory on atoll formation. Charles Darwin was the first to hypothesise (put up the idea for investigation) that atolls formed on the top of submerged volcanoes. Darwin envisaged that as volcanic activity ceased and the volcano slowly submerged into the…


Atoll Engineering for Building Resilience

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Atolls just aren’t like large continental countries where engineering grew up. We need a new set of engineering solutions specifically for the unique conditions on atolls. Atoll Engineering should build our resilience, reversing the broad-scale damage the ‘old engineering’ has caused in the past. And we need it now – the islands have run out…


Core Resilience: Funafuti Masterplan Video 2013

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In 2013 we produced a short (18 minute) video designed to introduce the idea of building core resilience for heavily urbanised atoll islands in general, and for Funafuti in particular. As noted on the Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI) site the natural environment is unequivocally the life support system for all human endeavours. Far from being…


Video: Funafuti Masterplan

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This is an 18 minute video designed to introduce the idea of building core resilience for heavily urbanised atoll islands in general, and for Funafuti in particular.


Cyclone Pam Stole another Islet from Funafuti

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Up until recently, Funafuti, Tuvalu’s capital, had 33 small islets located around its atoll rim. One was removed in 1997. This year Cyclone Pam completely removed another islet and severely battered several others. Life for Funafuti’s islets seems pretty tough. In 1992, McLean & Hosking recorded 33 islets spread around Funafuti’s atoll rim. The figure…


Satellite Harbour Concept for Atolls

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Building harbours on atolls is problematic at best. Atolls are ‘living’ structures, 100% made from the skeletons of once living things (not counting the volcanic core buried far beneath them). They need to be unconstrained to grow, or at least maintain, their current structures, especially their islands. To keep in shape, rubble and sand needs…


Borrow Pits Rehabilitation in Tuvalu

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The Tuvalu Borrow Pits Rehabilitation Project, funded by New Zealand, aims to improve the living standards of communities living in Funafuti by filling in up to 10 borrow pits located on Funafuti Atoll and improving water and sanitation services. The project also aims to improve the Island’s resilience to the impacts of climate change such…


Funafuti Atoll leaked sand during Cyclone Pam

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A coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely. There may be coral islands/cays on the rim. The coral of the atoll often sits on top of the rim of an extinct seamount or volcano which has eroded or subsided partially beneath the water. The…


Will Pacific Islands Disappear as Seas Rise? Maybe Not

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“If you were faced with the threat of the disappearance of your nation, what would you do?” That’s the question Enele Sopoaga, the prime minister of the tiny Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu, asked fellow world leaders at the United Nations climate summit in Lima, Peru, in December. It’s a question that leaders of Pacific…


Japan to Build Giant 250-Mile-Long Seawall

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The enormous four-storey high structure has been designed to protect the coast against tsunamis. Having seen more than its fair share of devastating tsunamis in recent years, Japan is now set to become home to one of the most ambitious tidal defence projects the world has ever seen. With an estimated cost of $6.8 billion,…