Monitoring the coral reefs of the Gilbert Islands, the main island chain, is vital to helping the Kiribati people respond to the existential threat of climate change. It can also help us understand the fate of coral reefs around the world: thanks to periodic El Nino-driven ocean “heat waves,” Kiribati is an ideal natural laboratory for studying how coral reefs will respond to rising ocean temperatures.
There are three ways you can help:
1. Your tax-deductible donation of used or new SCUBA and snorkeling gear will help colleagues in the Kiribati’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resource Development monitor the health of the coral reefs and conduct scientific research.
2. Your donation of used children’s books will stock the empty library in Onotoa, a remote outer atoll with few educational resources for the children.
Books are needed for preschool (ages 2-4), primary (ages 6-11) and junior secondary (ages 12-14) school children. We are particularly looking for junior fiction, young adult fiction, and children’s encyclopedias.
3. Don’t have spare gear or books?
We accept tax-deductible donations via UBC to support the shipping costs for donated books and gear as well as to support local monitoring expenses like boat fuel and dive allowances for local staff.
Local donors can bring items directly to the Main Office (room 217) of the UBC Geography Building (map). To arrange for pick-up or for deliveries from outside the region, contact Simon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The donations will be bulk shipped by my research group at UBC to trusted colleagues in Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati. SCUBA gear will be used by the Fisheries Division research team based in Tarawa for coral reef monitoring activities, including collaborative work with my research group. Snorkeling gear will be distributed to Fisheries Officers stationed on remote outer islands without access to compressed air for diving. Shipment of books to Onotoa will be arranged by Fisheries colleague Erietera Aram and the Mayor of Onotoa, Teuarai Tion.
For more on our Kiribati research:
A Remote Pacific Nation, Threatened by Rising Seas New York Times, July 2, 2016
The Kiribati People Battle Sea-Level Rise Scientific American, March 1, 2015
Can Corals Survive Warming Water Temperatures? Scientific American, July 3, 2012
See our Youtube channel for videos from our Kiribati research.