HomeTechnologyVirtual RealityTuvalu is recreating itself in the metaverse as climate change threatens to...

Tuvalu is recreating itself in the metaverse as climate change threatens to wipe it off the map

The Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has long been a cause célèbre for the risks of climate change.

Located almost halfway between Australia and Hawaii, the archipelago of nine islands, with a population of 12,000, is under active threat from rising sea levels.

Up to 40 percent of the capital is submerged at high tide, and the most rigorous estimates to date suggest that the entire Pacific country will be completely submerged by the end of the century.

Simon Kofe, Tuvalu’s foreign minister, has now announced his plan to become the first digitized nation in the metaverse, an online realm that uses augmented and virtual reality to help users interact.

Last year, Kofe urged world leaders to “take bold and alternative action today to secure tomorrow” at the COP26 climate summit as he stood knee-deep in the sea to illustrate how Tuvalu is on the front lines of climate change.

The minister explained that the country had to take matters into its own hands – including creating a virtual version of the country in the metaverse – as his message at last year’s summit was not followed by the world.

‘Islands like this will not survive’

“Since COP26, the world hasn’t acted, so we had to act in the Pacific. We’ve had to take our own precautions with a Future Now project. With our country disappearing, we have no choice but to become the world.” first digital nation,” he said, addressing COP27 last week from the digital twin of the real Te Afualiku islet.

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Te Afualiku, he said, is likely one of the first places in Tuvalu to be submerged by rising sea levels.

The video ends with a simulation of the islet in the metaverse, suggesting what the virtual copy of the land would look like.

“Our land, our ocean, our culture are our people’s most precious assets. And to protect them from harm, no matter what happens in the physical world, we will move them to the cloud,” he said.

“Islands like this cannot survive rapid temperature rises, rising sea levels and droughts. So we will recreate them virtually. Little by little, we will preserve our land, bring comfort to our people and remind our children and our grandchildren what our home once was.”

Kofe warned that it could be inevitable for other countries to join the metaverse if their country disappears.

“We have to start with that [taking action] Today. Otherwise Tuvalu will only exist here in a lifetime,” he said.

Tuvalu will be the first country to replicate itself in the metaverse. The city of Seoul and the island nation of Barbados follow suit. Last year, they both said they would enter the metaverse to provide administrative and consular services, respectively.

For more information on this story, watch the video in the media player above.



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