One of the smallest countries in the world plans to upload itself to the metaverse in the face of climate change
An island nation called Tuvalu, halfway between Hawaii and Australia, has announced that it will put itself on the metaverse to deal with the dangers it faces from climate change.
At the COP27 climate summit, Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister, Simon Kofe, said his country must think of alternative ways to protect itself against rising sea levels. Scientists say that if climate change goes unchecked, Tuvalu may be uninhabitable by the end of the century.
“Our land, our oceans, our culture are our people’s most precious assets, and to keep them safe from harm, no matter what happens in the physical world, we will move them to the cloud,” he said in a video from the digitized version of an island.
Kofe says the metaverse can preserve Tuvalu’s physical landmarks, like churches and monuments. The Metaverse will also host the country’s culture, such as language and customs, so that Tuvaluans can participate in cultural activities from all over the world.
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He also said that the move to the metaverse would strengthen Tuvalu’s sovereignty; if there is no physical land to govern, they can govern the virtual land.
Kofe says that using the metaverse is a “worst-case scenario”, but inaction on a global scale has forced Tuvalu to consider making the metaverse its new home.
The risk of partial underwater flooding is especially true for Pacific island nations already exposed to dangerous floods, tsunamis and tornadoes.
The country’s highest peak is only 15 feet above sea level and High tide is predicted to invade another 8 to 10 inches over the next 100 years. Rising sea levels mean that infrastructure is sinking and agricultural land is destroyed by saltwater intrusion.
But this situation raises another question: is the metaverse capable of containing an entire country? Maybe problem with computing power and affordability of VR headsets, as about 12,000 people currently live in Tuvalu.
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It also gives that metaverse not necessarily an eco-friendly alternativebecause it relies on a lot of technologies that contribute to e-waste and carbon emissions.
But Kofe and the citizens of Tuvalu don’t want to move into the metaverse; they are saying it is an alternative to the perils their country will face if climate change continues to spiral out of control.
Will other island nations start planning to move to the metaverse? Or will the broadcast of these plans serve as a wake-up call to address the stressors that climate change will bring to our technological and environmental structures?