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Rough Cut
Tuvalu: That Sinking Feeling
Global warming, rising seas


Elizabeth Pollock

Elizabeth Pollock is a graduate of the Berkeley journalism school whose awards include a Fulbright Scholarship and an environmental journalism fellowship from the Institute of Journalism and Natural Resources. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband Bob Bruch, who took a year off his job to come to the South Pacific and serve as Associate Producer and crew for Pollock's recent documentary about the effects of global warming on the tiny island country of Tuvalu. For more information, visit

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Length: 16:19

Who hasn’t dreamed of one day living on a far-off island in the South Pacific? Paul Gauguin and Marlon Brando famously found their bliss among the Polynesians. But there is trouble in paradise, especially if you live on an island nation as narrow and flat as Tuvalu, where the average elevation is a mere six feet above sea level. When you live that close to the water’s edge you pay very close attention to the ocean, especially if it begins to rise. And that is what’s happening around Tuvalu, slowly, almost imperceptibly, the sea is rising.

The scientific consensus is that global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions and other “greenhouse gases” is causing rising sea levels around the world. Climate change experts predict that over the next hundred years the sea level, on average, will rise between six inches and three feet.

If so, Tuvalu is doomed, and many coastal areas around the world will be submerged.

Which is why the 9,000 inhabitants of Tuvalu have become this century’s version of the canaries in the coal mines, and why FRONTLINE/World reporter Elizabeth Pollock ventured to these remote coral atolls south of the Equator. Is Tuvalu drowning?

On a Fulbright scholarship, Pollock spent a year in the South Pacific, making a documentary with her husband about the effects of global warming. This week’s “Rough Cut” -- “That Sinking Feeling” -- is an early version of what will be a one-hour film called “Atlantis Approaching.” We catch up with Pollock as she sets sail from Fiji on a three-day cargo ship ride to Tuvalu, and from the moment she arrives on Funafuti, Tuvalu’s main island, she immerses us in a tropical world few of us will ever visit. It’s a demanding Eden.

“If you strong, you get fish,” a weathered fisherman tells her. “If you not strong, oh, you gonna die.”

In many ways, though, Tuvalu is a languid, sensual world where a fisherman has time to bathe his children, sip his coconut juice, feed his pet sea turtles, and tend his ancestors’ graves. But Pollock soon discovers unmistakable signs of danger.

A tide gauge set up by Australia’s National Tidal Facility indicates that sea levels have been rising slightly but steadily over the past 10 years, and a local meteorologist shows Pollock that during high tides, sea water actually bubbles up on land through the porous coral. Encroaching salty ocean water is ruining pulaka gardens, the main crop, and eroding coconut trees.

People have lived in Tuvalu for 2,000 years, but some are now beginning to leave, fearing that global warming and rising seas will render their homes uninhabitable. As they emigrate to New Zealand, the Tuvaluans may be the vanguard of a new and growing category of displaced people: “ocean exiles” or “environmental refugees.”

“I feel angry because we are being forced to move, to relocate, by something that has nothing to do with us, by factors that are beyond our control,” says Paani Laupepa, Tuvalu’s assistant secretary of foreign affairs.

We present “That Sinking Feeling” as thousands of scientists, delegates and environmental activists gather in Montreal for the UN Climate Change Conference. That’s a long way from Tuvalu, and on the frosty surface of things, Montreal in winter seems like an incongruous place to convene an international conference on global warming. But as any grade school student can tell you -- at least in schools where they still teach science -- global warming will affect the glaciers of Greenland, as well as the tropical seas. An Inuit delegation from the Arctic joined marchers in Montreal, warning that all those SUV and factory emissions contributing to the greenhouse effect are melting ice in their territory, threatening their fishing and their way of life.

Stephen Talbot
Series Editor


francis Kabisch - Lakewood, WA
I'm saddened. I'm not sure how I feel - would it be better to keep my mind devoid of such trying times for such wonderful people. How can we make a difference? Can we change? Can something be done that would make a difference? Movements of peoples have been with us from the beginning. How does this rate? How can we get a more universal picture and then see a perspective that might give us a less negative picture? So many questions. Should I feel as saddened that I do right now?

yohannes fekadu - addis ababa, ethiopia
Climate change has a great impact on every living thing. Since we humans have the mandate to administor to the earth, we should be accountable to our actions. God will be asked one day.

sajid sheikh - raipur, chattisgar
India is very polluted because very fast India has become a industrial country, so they forget global warming and how to stop that, but i am working on HOW TO REDUCE CO2

Sam Pugh - pg, va
I am beginning to think this forum is full of paid to post propagandaists. Do you people know how the ruling aristocracy wants to deal with the bogus climate change man-made global warming screenplay? To tax the world for burning carbon and deprived millions and millions of people in the third world to industrialize. Do you know what kills more people than anything in this world? The lack of electricity and running water. So if you people really are concerned about helping people, how about you do some independent research and youll find that the world is (a) cooling as of 2 years ago and (b) even that doesnt matter because where we are on the temperature spectrum falls well within the range of observed data. Temperatures lead to carbon release, not vice versa. wake up sheep.

Crystal - Long Beach, CA
Get a grip people! Sea level is a very complex type of measurement, but overall, sea level has been rising gradually since we came out of the last ice age. There has been NO acceleration of sea level rise in Tuvalu. Furthermore, the sea level has probably fallen in relation to most of the shoreline in the last decade or so. If you think I am making this up, please check the Website for the laboratory cited in the film (Australia's National Tidal Facility). The government of Tuvalu is in no hurry to go anywhere soon ( Reading some of these comments makes me want to cringe! What has happened to critical thinking????

Coraliee Leyland - Amsterdam, Holland
I couldn't care less. Tuvala doesn't interest anybody, sinking or not. Climate change is a fact and unstoppable. The eternal deniers are living on a different planet. Good luck to them. But the Tuvalu story promotion by the green orgs does not influence the powerful. If we want to do something against climate change we must tell the people about its devastating effects on the wealthy parts of the world. People must understand that climate change is a result of the overshoot of economic activity and population, that economic growth is speeding up greenhouse gas emissions and resource depletion. Not climate change but overshoot is the basic problem that is going to kill humanity. Compare ecoglobe.

matha pan - edinburgh, UK
An environmental official of Tuvalu, Elisala Pita, is concerned with the alarmism of western eco-imperialists. In an interview in the Canadian Globe and Mail on November 24, Pita says that, "This [coastal] erosion is caused by man-made infrastructure. Tuvalu is being used for the issue of climate change. People are telling all these lies, just using Tuvalu to prove their point. No island is sinking. Tuvalu is not sinking. It is still floating." These small atolls have few natural resources, including fresh groundwater. Catch basins or desalination plants form the only fresh water available.
With such limited resources, the alarmism of western environmentalists will do nothing to help Tuvaluans. Only the scientific facts will.

adelaide, south australia
Good story. Thank you.

Scottar Brooks - Albuquerque, NM
The atolls of Tuvalu rest on sinking volcanic rock atop which new coral grows to replace the coral die-off that occurs as the volcanic rock subsides deeper into the ocean where coral does not survive. Such island growth is slow. And it would certainly be too slow to keep pace with forecast sea level rise attributable to global warming.The hype of human emissions being linked to Global Warming has become so common that people automatically associate global warming as human caused.But to get a reality check on Tuvalu check these sites out: GLOBAL WARMING NOT SINKING TUVALU Fairy Tale in Tuvalu Tuvalu Really Sinking? faces sea level rise
To blame global warming on humans is like blaming a caught cold on your friend. Do you really know where it came from?

Curtis Waters - Charlotte, NC
Just another piece of pro-Global Warming propaganda. I suggest you all read Michael Crichton's book "State of Fear", where he illustrates that there is significant money behind the Global Warming hysteria. Scientists are being funded to prove this theory, while independent scientists disprove it! CO2 levels follow temperature changes, not drive them. 90 percent of greenhouse gases consist of water vapor!
Read the rebuttal science. While I agree that we should reduce our environmental pollution - we are spending millions on more global warming research, while we should be assisting third world countries with their poverty, education, and business issues.As for Al Gore -
Al Gore is chairman and founder of a private equity firm called Generation Investment Management (GIM). According to Gore, the London-based firm invests money from institutions and wealthy investors in companies that are going green. "Generation Investment Management, purchases -- but isn't a provider of -- carbon dioxide offsets," said spokesman Richard Campbell in a March 7 report by CNSNews. The Nobel winner is making money from our fear.

laura jackson - southampton, South England
Hi everyone, I'm writing a feature on both sides of the argument for Tuvalu, that its not just global warming that should be blamed for its disappearance. I was hoping one of you against the global warming theory (as I have plenty for it) would give me some of your quotes please? Especially if anyone could give me an email address for Glastonbury, CT or Richard Bronx, NY?
Many Thanks

Abayomi Manrique - atlanta, ga
Thank you very much for your work telling the story of the island peoples of Tuvalu. I am also from an island nation (Trinidad and Tobago) and I know how lovely the life can be in such a setting. I wish the people of Tuvalu all the best and I pray for the rest of us. We must take care of our planet right now!

Chris Manao Lyons - Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
My mother is Tuvaluan and my father is British, I am currently in Australia finishing my degree at university later to return to Papua New Guinea where I grew up -- bizarre story I know. I have actually only been to Tuvalu twice. All my life I have known that Tuvalu has been under threat from global warming. I don't want to sound pessimistic but I fear that all this attention (with great enthusiasm mind you) has come far too late. I have already missed out on so much of the culture because I grew up elsewhere, and I now have a two year old son who I suspect will never get to see the land of which he is a part. Terrible shame, I still have PNG as a home but how long until that too will disappear under the sea? My Mother has re-married to an Australian and she is currently in the process of getting my Grandfather his citizenship; the thought of him living alone on a flooding island is too much for her. I can guarantee my Grandfather would rather stay on the island until it is submerged than to be a part of a society (whether it be a first-world nation or a developing nation) that committed to the flooding waters. Please do not take offence, it is simply the truth.

Wikanda Promkhuntong - Bangkok, Thailand
The world needs more people like you, Ms. Pollock. I will do my very best to spread the message and hopefully awareness. Al Gore did, you did, and people who have read your article did, but we need more.

Michael Berna - Wheaton, IL
The problem facing the people of Tuvalu is geological, not ecological.

Kevin McNamara - Franklin, Ma.
I had never heard of Tuvalu before. I wonder why? These people are good, peaceful people. We need to reduce GHG emissions for them first, and then for all peoples of the world. I truly hope it's not too late.

Richard Guy - Bronx, NY
Tuvalu sits on the crest of two tectonic plates, i.e. the Pacific and the Philippines. Darwin studied raised beaches all across the Pacific and South America. He naturally assumed that the land had lifted from the sea. The reverse is true - the sea levels have fallen, i.e. receded. The seas are still receding and have been doing so for a very long time. In the case of Tuvalu, it is quite evident that the islands perched precariously on top of seamounts are sinking. Islands of the Pacific are known to pop up and down with geological activity. The city of New Orleans is sinking in much the same way as the Mississippi fault line expands. The entire floor of the Pacific is in flux with constant volcanic and expansion processes. Tuvalu sits in a very active area on two active faults. The fate of the islands is a geological one, not due to global warming. Global warming is a fact but it is due to more mysterious forces. The current mindset prefers to tout fossil fuels and carbon emissions. That is the real smokescreen: that is the hoax. Get frank and real and tell the people of Tuvalu the truth. I suspect they already know. Canada knows; the USA knows; and Australia knows. And that is why they wont ratify the Kyoto Protocol. I expect that many more nations will soon opt out of Kyoto because it is based on a premise that is inconclusive.

Pusi Teaulai - Funafuti, Tuvalu
If you were moved by the documentary, please you can help...a small donation to a local NGO would help.

Jema Penjueli - Hamilton, Waikato
I am speechless. I feel very frustrated and pitty to the people of Tuvalu. My major concern is with the United States and Australia in which they do no take heed of what is going on here. To see the amount of carbon dioxide that they are releasing into the atmosphere every single year is just appalling. My frustration does not go out to the people of America but to the government. What are you doing to solve this devastating issue? Please people, if we don't act now it will be TOO LATE!!! Do not let others suffer for your consequences, America.

Sydney, Australia
Wow, that's frightening! I hadn't even heard of Tuvalu before today. Something needs to be done, and fast!

Masaniga Boland - Perth, Western Australia
Congratulations to you, Ms. Pollock, for a great piece of work! Thank you very much, or Fakafetai lasi lasi to you, that Tuvalu is heard in other parts of the world for your great work. I, as a Tuvaluan, owe so much to people like you for your willingness and braveness to travel to tiny Tuvalu to document this. I must say, it was a job well done. My hope and prayers that all nations will unite to tackle this global warming problem before we submerge from this God's given land. Malo Fakafetai.

Suva, Fiji
I really feel sorry for the people of Tuvalu. What I saw in the video is just unexpected, and I hope the good Lord knows what he is doing to his innocent people. We the people of Fiji will always be there with a helping hand. Our country's door will always be open to all the Tuvaluans, so feel welcome to come to Fiji.

Elizabeth Sheppard - Rockfield, KY
Very interesting and sad story. For more information about global warming, I would go to the website of the movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." Al Gore has done a stupendous job of telling the global warming story. I have seen the movie, and it really shows how this problem must be addressed immediately in order to save the earth.
Here is the link:

I am reading this story about Tuvalu and my heart is racing because I am from a small Caribbean island and I am very well aquainted with how islanders abuse the shoreline in order to assist in their home construction. I have lived away for 35 years and on my recent visit back home I have noticed drastic changes... I had dreams of returning to build not too far from the coast but I am having second thoughts.

Andrew Dickens - Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, UK
The Tuvalu islanders got $40 million from the sale of their TV Internet suffix, and used much of the money to buy vehicles and build a road round the main island. Where did the hard core for the road come from? From the shore of course. No wonder the water is coming in. And vehicles roaring round the island, causing vibration will not have helped the situation. Unwittingly, the Tuvalu people have become the architects of their own destruction. There is no evidence of rising sea levels round Tuvalu nor anywhere else in the world.


Ron Whitman - Los Angeles, CA
The story of Tuvalu's fight against the seas has fascinated me. What became clear from this video is that Tuvalu is not just a little island of bumbling natives, but a highly educated and modern society living lives not unlike our own. I hope that others can see this as a testament to the reality of our actions in the industrial world.

Save the Earth? I'm not sure the Earth is what needs saving. The Earth will be here a fair bit longer than Tuvalu stays dry, that's for certain. People have lived in flood plains, earthquake zones and so many more inclement conditions and were made to relocate for hundreds of thousands of years before anyone stepped foot on Tuvalu. We can show sympathy for them and help with relocation, but I'm also fairly certain asking the rest of the world to drain the oceans is a bit much. Perhaps some of the world's most experienced island builders in Japan and the Norwegian peninsula could help?

Bill Cline - Windsor, VT
I'm 60 years old, and still wonder how we humans have lived as long as we have. Finding differences between ourselves is more important than finding solutions to those differences. (If needed, which we can't agree upon either). I was recently reminded our scientists still fail to agree on the definition of a planet. How in heaven's name are we suppose to live on it, and save it when in trouble, if we can't even agree what it is we live on. As a species, we live as though we will never die. That our resources are endless, that we can fix any mistake, and that we haven't made any mistakes yet big enough requiring our attention. It's not that we haven't had brilliant minds at work here. Our journey through space on our space ship the "Big Blue Marble" should clearly have provided all with a glimmer that our destiny is our own. For those that say we didn't cause the global warming I say, it remains a problem, and all things but death have a solution. Be part of the solution or part of the problem. I would like to live another 60 years, to see if human kind learns to care for itself, better than it does today.

Kenyon Baker - Manteca, CA
Will someone please look at the facts first? The seas have been rising since the ice age, about 400 feet, and will keep rising until the planet starts to cool again and head to another ice age. Don't fear; it's a long time from now. For the last 8 years the average global temperature has been steady. There is a time of higher carbon dioxide emissions: between 1918 and 1940 the planet was warming. Less carbon dioxide emissions: between 1940 and 1965 cooling occurred. Great increase in carbon dioxide emissions. So the planet is warming and cooling, but not because of us.

Stratos Doukas - Athens, Greece
Shocking report. What's frightening is that most people don't react decisively; politicians don't want to touch upon a subject that might hurt their reelection chances and business in most cases is only interested in making profits.

Sitanon Jesdapipat - Bangkok, Thailand
It is interesting, but worrisome. I hope that human beings, especially those who are in the high offices, could come to some good senses.

Blair Palese - Sydney, NSW
I remember back in 1993 while working for Greenpeace holding a press conference with the then Prime Minister of Tuvalu and our international climate expert on the expected impacts of climate change in the Pacific, its many islands, countries, cultures and people. His was a heart sinking story of how his people were on the verge of disappearing. It was held at the National Press club in Washington, DC. In spite of every effort to inform, follow up and badger the Washington press corp, no one came. Thirteen years and volumes of evidence of climate change later, is there any difference in attitude about doing what needs to be done to try to halt climate change and protect cultures such as these internationally?

We were talking about global warming and rising sea levels decades ago; we are still talking about this. With the way we abuse our planet the rising of the ocean levels is not going to go away . If the sea levels are to rise by up to 1 metre in the next century where will the estimated one billion or so people move to without it causing a problem to the remainder? Planning for this mass migration should have already started!

Dale Robison - Las Cruces, New Mexico
We have ancient dry sea beds, empty lakes, a shallow Rio Grande River and lowering water tables. Some think we don't have enough water to last two decades. We would welcome any excess water, if you find a way to send it. The Great Lakes people object to a water pipeline. The American Southwest is thirsty!

Kanunki, Finland
We need to get funding and a steady supply of rocks, sand, soil and concrete going to Tuvalu. The Tuvaluans don't want to leave Tuvalu. If they did, they would already be at Kioa, the Fijian island the Tuvaluan government owns. The only solution is to build up Tuvalu, and it is possible. Look what was built in Dubai.

Ian Liggett - Liverpool, England
The BBC ran a program on the island showing the way people where preparing for the possible drowning of their island. They pointed out the island has sold its internet domain name for "QUITE A LOT"; this fund is being used to resettle the islanders to other Tuvalu islands as well as building houses on stilts. What was disturbing was the "open" dump along side the road where the islanders toss their trash. A genuine, honest, nice people who seem to now be viewed as a live experiment for the world of academics to theorize over and the great and the good to wring their hands over while no one including the red tape bound UN does anything to help, as they don't have any oil, gold, strategic or industrial value. So it looks like it's down to the Tuvalu people to help themselves as the internet deal shows they are not going to just float off into the sunset; good on them.

Prof.Dr. Hans Kempe - Basel, Switzerland
Tuvalu can be saved the same way we are building "the world" in Dubai! But this needs love for our Mother Earth--not only love for the money! Raising funds for these people to either move away or stay and fight--but this needs a different mentality of what we all are doing on this planet. Let's talk!

Speith Nacanieli - Suva, Fiji
I think Tuvalu and its people should be warned about the causes and consequences of global warming. This problem should also be addressed to the grass root level. So people of Tuvalu, could you please care also about your future generation because they are the ones who are going to suffer.

James Keyes - Flippin, AR
There is a vast difference between subsidence of land and rising sea levels. Having blurred that distinction, the video continues to describe the impact of whatever is happening and happily blames the whole thing on CO2 levels/SUVs/politicians/etc. This is an a priori argument and should be challenged by anyone who can think. In my opinion, the cause of the subsidence is far from proven or even logically hypothesized. Tidal gauges are land-based and land-referenced. So, is the water rising or the land sinking? Tidal gauges won't tell you that. The net change in sea level in the Tuvalu area during the past 2 decades is . 05cm [ /- 0.03cm] according to ERS-1 & -2 data. However the El Nino variation may be as much as 24cm. This variation is multidecadal [~25 yrs] and there is another cycle at ~80 years. The last time they coincided was 1930, so we are due for another double maximum. I hate to interrupt this discussion with FACTS, but the FACT is that global warming is not demonstrable on this planet, sea level increases are tiny [if they are to be found at all] and CO2 didn't do it! Tuvalu may be sinking. I don't know and neither do you, despite the video. It has in the past and may be now, but no one has thought to look. It is interesting that Darwin theorized in 1842 that the origin of the deep coral found in the Pacific islands was due to subsidence of shallow volcanic seamounts. Divers in Tuvalu have found evidence of human habitation 40 meters below the current surface. The plight of the people there is not tied to anthropogenic factors in far away nations. I suspect that proper investigation will find the cause much closer to home.

Anthony - Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil
Elizabeth, excellent work. I got my first feel of the Global Warming effect yesterday when I went to our local seafront area at Beira Mar. The waves now come up and over the wave defences and onto the local seafront road as never before at high tide! People just stood and watched open mouthed, as it was not even stormy! This is a place in Northern Brazil, where beachfront homes are supposedly a gem to own. Not anymore in my opinion! The wooden ones are getting washed away making owners homeless! Urgent action is needed world-wide. We have a huge problem!

India, Mizoram
Great work, Elizabeth. I hope the world would realize how it buries one of its unique cultures. My sister works there and we have been worried since then. Keep up your good work.

- Glastonbury, CT
Your story would have more credibililty if you factored in the earth plate movement around Tuvalu, as well as the underground water table historical level and resulting soil compaction. All these factors have more impact on land levels. Plus, if we are having more of a loss of our ozone layer, then we should have an increase in the sun's radiation that strikes the earth, something that could be measured. However, global warming advocates do not ever mention this measurement. This is one reason why it is hard for people to blindly buy into the theory for greenhouse gasses. There are other factors at play including the increased population (increase in heat produced), more buildings (more heat released through heating and air conditioning systems plus more surface area to reradiate the sun's radiation as well as to store it), more paved areas (more sun rays absorbed, stored and reradiated), and more animals for food (more heat and gas emitted). These factors cannot be explained away since they do affect the temperature of the air, but they are never discussed by the global warming advocates of CO2 as the main factor. We need more opened minded and thoughtful scientists working on this other than political agenda scientists.

Trish McMillan - Kihei, HI
Great work, Elizabeth. As an Aussie living on Maui,"in a paradise," I hope the Australian government is doing something to help these people that are under the same monarch. Maybe the SDA church and other churches can provide relief for these people who appear to be doomed. Sinking - what a horrible feeling. The world needs to be informed. Global Warming is serious.

This story (which I like very much) and the comments demonstrate a serious obstacle to effectively addressing this issue: politics. The FACTS of global warming, melting glaciers, distupting ocean currents and raising sea levels are incontrovertable. The causes of these facts are highly debatable even at the level of basic science. Blaming my neighbor with an SUV is illogical and unproductive.

Fioravante Capirchio - Cranston, RI
We must try harder to save this world. To all of you in involved -- good work. Elizabeth, thank you for your report.

Montreal, Quebec
Excellent topic. I think Tuvalu should be told when their country is not safe from global warming. Around where I am now, when a bad storm is expected, a warning is sent out to people to evacuate. In Tuvalu, it is like a big secret that the waves just come unexpectedly right in front of your door.

Alton, Il
I wonder what caused the glaciers to melt after the Ice Age? I don't think there were cars and factories then.

Ken Parks - Ketchikan, AK
I have lived in all parts of the U.S. and have spent time in Louisiana -- its southernmost tip 60 miles south of New Orleans 20 years ago. It's now under water in most areas. It is a world problem that takes all of us to change. Get enviro friendly so our children do not have to paddle to school.

Ben Goodwyn - Red Oak, TX
Anyone that participated in any research recognizes the greatest worldwide source of Co2 is volcanos. Plug all the volcanos and save the world.

This global warming effect is beginning to feel like it is irrevisible unless we bring ourself back to the pre-industrial age this very instant.

Kevin Iungerman - Glens Falls, NY
Tuvalu is but the beginning of the seas to come. When it begins to dawn on the world's population how many of their brethren live within 15 feet of present sea levels, they may begin to ask the really pertinent questions: As waters rise, where will these people relocate? As substantial assets are "liquidated" in all senses, what ramifications will these losses have on absorbing economies? In turn, what will be the stability of world monetary exchanges?Quite literally, it is not only the tidal interface that will be changed but potentially all human economic enterprises -- and this is without thought of more frequent and more destructive cyclones.Read the book Collapse by Jared Diamond. And then get angry. And then get rid of the poliitians who distract us from the world's real security concerns with their panderings to fears that maintain their grip on power and wealth.

(anonymous) - Koh Phan Gan, Thailand
Thanks for giving a contribution to the public's awareness to this issue. The existence of the problem is still denied and scientific evidence questioned by the U.S. goverment and the oil companies. People must know. Awareness leads to action, hopefully before it's too late.

Prabu A - Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu India
Good outline. This global warming is going to be a serious issue with in few years so each and every person is responsible to take necessary steps. I am doing project in global warming. Your site helped me to gather information.

Kelsang Thongdong - Toronto, Ont
Elizaberth, I am very glad about the work that you have done.

Jim Hobson - San Francisco, CA
This documentary makes me wonder what changes might already be observable in places like Key West and Miami. Who knows? If Florida governer Jeb Bush gets upset over rising sea levels, maybe even his brother George will finally realize that there's a problem. But I doubt it.

P.V. Woodman - Davis, CA
I knew Tuvalu was a small island nation, but 6' above sea level? Regardless of how ocean level is impacting the rest of us from the coast, this really drove home that my actions are about to wipe yet another independent culture literally off the face of the earth.

- Milwaukee, WI
What a wonderful documentary! I look forward to seeing the entire film. She did a great job of showing the human and cultural cost of global warming.

RW Akile - Los Angeles, CA
Tuvalu today, tomorrow Malibu. Just as we find it hard to imagine a world where the sea level is 400 feet further out into the sea as it was during the Ice Age the invisible pendulum is still moving to melt more ice; if not this year then next year. Expect a slow 3 foot (or greater) rise in sea level. Tuvalu will be no more and "smart" coastal development will become scandals as developments become swamped by rising tidal actions. The wet onslaught is slow but sure; not if but when.

Chiba, Japan
This is such important coverage as the problem is not limited to Tuvalu alone. There should be many more of these. I needed to try a few times before I could watch the video though.

FRONTLINE/World's editors respond:
If you have Quicktime, choose the "large" option ... it should play better than Real Player.

This documentary is really interesting. Even if the cause of the rising water is NOT global warming, a community and a history are being lost. One person asked if land were being formed, would that be a case against global warming? Of course not, and that comment misses the point. This is a story about the loss of a culture. I'd like to see more. Please air the entire film.

Jean Johnson - Lavallette, NJ
I've noticed along the New Jersey shore the level seems higher than it was 50 years ago. I've heard comments that the land is sinking, but I don't think sand sinks; water rises. Roadways are now flooding that never did years ago. Studies should be done along our coasal areas in this country also.

Weston, FL
This film was very well done. For anyone that has half a mind as well as half a heart, it is devastating to realize that this is not only a loss of an island home but the decimation of a 2000-year-old people. An entire culture is being prematurely swallowed up by the unnatural abuse of our planet. Will this be a wake up call to those that are in denial? We can only hope. Thank you.......

Denis Simpson - Oakland, CA
Having been born on an island nation in the Carribean, I can sympatize with the people of the Pacific. Not until nations begin to disappear will the world take notice of the impact of global warming.

Malie Lototele - Bradford, UK
As a Tuvaluan, I share the views expressed by my collegues in the film and I thank those who had been "spreading the word." It is through these kind of films that the world can actually see what is happening. I think we need to screen these kind of films before any negotiations for the Kyoto protocol or any environment related negotiations to remind people of the reality of things in low lying island countries like Tuvalu. Would love to see the whole film.

- Boston, MA
This program depicted nice people in an unfortunate situation. Sentimentality does not constitute scientific fact and it is possible that there are other explanations for the Tuvaluans' dilemma. Perhaps someone has found an island rising in the ocean elsewhere in the world. Would that disprove Global Warming?

The report exquisitely presents the irreversible damage of global warming, from the "humans as prey" perspective. Sensibility seems to be essential in this kind of issue. Nice work!

Elizabeth Breimyer - San Francisco, CA
Very interesting story. I consider myself an environmentalist, but I was not familiar with the plight of Tuvalu. This film was not only enlightening, but it was timely in the wake of Katrina. I think this story needs to be told to a larger audience. I hope PBS picks up the full length version!

Sandor Lau - Auckland, New Zealand
Excellent report on a piece of the collateral damage of the hyperconsumption and greed of consumer nations. Very clever examination of how Tuvaluans are also becoming a part of the same process that is sinking their home. Takes a big issue through the eyes of people affected by it and personalizes it in a way that everyone can relate to.

Mary Weimienoski - San Francisco, CA
This film is wonderful work -- Ms Pollack provides a personal, human and sometimes humorous face to an issue that could not be more global. And yet sadly, too few people fully appreciate this problem. The film does a great job of making this problem accessible and highlighting the relevance, even for those of us who don't live in tropical paradise. Global climate change is is THE issue of the 21st century (though many don't know that yet) -- kudos to Ms. Pollack and Frontline for their visionary work.

- Dublin, Ireland
Kudos to Ms. Pollack. Global warming is an abstract topic that can be difficult to present visually, and she has done a fantastic job of bringing it to life for us.

John Hart - San Rafael, CA
As a writer specializing in environmental issues, I've been struck by how slow the world is (the American part of it especially) to take seriously the huge challenge of global warming. The very scale of the change is part of the problem--it's almost too big to get your imagination around. That Sinking Feeling turns the global and abstract into something local, specific, human. It is just the sort of grounding we need. Three cheers.

Alex - Princeton, NJ
A great documentary. It's sad to think of this destruction - even if you bomb a country, the people can return and rebuild. But to not even be able to return to stand in the place that your culture comes from is tragic. I can only hope that we (as a planet) can do much better than the recent climate talks in Montreal.

Erlenbach, Switzerland
Ms. Pollock delivers a masterful intermingling of facts, interviews and human reactions. I look forward to the full Tuvalu documentary on PBS and also hope PBS will broadcast other works by Ms. Pollock.

Kudos to Ms. Pollock for bringing a human side to this controversial issue! Well done! Think globally, act locally! Let's see the full version on PBS TV soon!

Mark Hayes - Brisbane, Australia
As the author of one of the pieces Ms Pollock used for her research, may I say 'Fakafeti lasi lasi' (thank you very much) for a very good video update on the Tuvaluan situation. Knowing Funafuti and surrounds, like Tepuka, and its people, like Semese, very well, it was lovely, enraging, and deeply saddening to see them again. Their stories were told sensitively and well. I'm also ashamed to be an Australian because of the government's obscene position WRT Kyoto and the issue of environmental refugees from countries like Tuvalu.

- Majuro, Marshall Islands
Nice film. The same fate awaits other low lying countries around the Pacific like the Marshall Islands.

Zurich, Switzerland
We really enjoyed this rough cut. Congratulations on the effective interviews and beautiful scenes of the sinking South Sea Island. The ocean bubbling up through the ground really brings that sinking feeling home. When will the full documentary be aired?

George Matthew - Bangalore, India
Good job. Keep on educating the public about climate change

- State College, PA
Amazing piece of work by a talented artist! I'd like to see more of this!

Said Gretzinger - Milwaukee, WI
Wouldn't it be easier to stomach if Tuvalu were equally guilty of committing environmentally unsustainable practices? But no. They don't hurt anyone. They fish and grow produce, sustaining themselves. We are learning that there is no such thing as a 'designated smoking section' for environmental polluters. In the end, everyone is affected by the pathology -- even the innocent.

- Farmington Hills, Michigan
A compelling story beautifully filmed. I would very much like to see Ms. Pollock's one-hour film "Atlantis Approaching."

Port Townsend, WA
Excellent short piece. Since I rarely watch TV I appreciate getting it in this format. The ability to see this on demand and share with friends is wonderful. Great job to Ms. Pollack as well.

Alejandra Fernandez - Neuquen, Argentina
I can not believe that American peope support a government that is destroying the rest of the world. The US government does not do anything to protect environment, in fact, it continues producing damage.

Billings, Montana
Elizabeth, I am very proud of the work that you have done.

Helen Schoenhals - Frankfurt, Germany
This is a well-done sobering report that goes beyond Tuvalu, recording the destiny of much of our planet -- the difficult fate, not only of human beings, but also of trees and wild life -- all having to face the unrelenting forces of nature.

Tamaqua, PA
I would love to see more on this!

Detroit, MI
Several years ago I had heard a brief news comment about water levels reaching the doorsteps of South Sea island homes. It is dismaying to see the documentation. I hope that more people will see it, have compassion, and learn how to slow down or stop global warming.

New York, NY
I would like to see the full version of this film. The subject is topical, but many people do not yet understand that global warming is already threateniing discrete civilizations.

Denver, CO
Well documented and presented. Melting glaciers and rising seas pose catastrophic future problems. Are our emissions causing the equilibrium to be shifted? Thanks for getting the word out!

Lake Forest, IL
Very interesting mini film. Cannot wait to see the whole story. The filming is beautiful and Ms. Pollock's delivery of the facts keeps you waiting for more. What are we doing to our planet?

Washington, DC
This is a fascinating story! I am glad that people like Ms. Pollock are doing such terrific work. However, more action is needed from the people by demanding "green policies" from their representatives as well! Works such as this help the public to better understand global warming. Thanks!

Ross Hunter - New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand
A really good intuitive video and excellent article looking at a very important subject. Especially for those of us living here in the South Pacific. Unfortunately, I believe more energy has been spent on `blame placing' up until now rather than looking at easing re-placement of those affected.Trying to change the way the globe is reacting to certain natural & man-made actions is rather futile in the long run I believe, and we should be spending more time, money & resources to look at better use of existing land sources on our globe.

William Gieseke - Northfield, IL
This is an significant film. This film studies one of the major environmental issues to face the human race and it puts a human face to what this risk might mean to any and all of us. We ignore thought provoking films like this one at our own peril and possibly to the harm of future generations.

I had previously been aware of the debate over rising tides and global warming, but embarrassingly, had never given it much thought. This work, however, flatly placed the struggle within such a compelling and human context for me, that I find myself unable to step back into the languor of apathy. I want to know more, and to do something about it.

This is a fascinating look at a serious issue. Thanks!

Washington, DC
We can't know whether Tuvalu or others will exist if this greenhouse gas problem is still going on. Wether or not be this sinking feeling comes true, this is evidence of a beautiful place worrying the future of a warming world.

Nicole Wagenberg - San Francisco, CA
Excelent preview. The world needs to see the whole documentary so that we don't sink! I didn't know that Tuvalu existed. We need to save our indigenous countries. So sad and depressing, but this documentary is so important.

Tamara Duggar - Swartz Creek, MI
I enjoyed the film. The content and presentation were very good. It's heartbreaking that these people are in such an irreversible situtation.

Terri Anderson - West Lafayette, IN
What a wonderful piece. I'm so glad this topic is being discussed. I am impressed by the thoughfulness and informative nature of this piece. I am happy to see that Frontline/World takes the steps necessary to present quality investigative reporting.

Doug Hansel - Londonderry, NH
Thanks for bringing such a fascinating and worrisome problem to light. People need to see the effects of climate change with their own eyes in order to believe it and Tuvalu is rare in its ability to persuade folks that there is indeed a real problem.