the life-threatening problems facing the nation of Tuvalu, what are their
options? Do the other peoples of the world have an ethical obligation
to help? What RESPONSES
might be enacted?
possible options for the Tuvalu people are explored below.
1. MITIGATION: The population stay where they are but take measures to
compat the existing and future problems
2. PARTIAL MIGRATION: Some of the population leave Tuvalau in order to
ease the population pressure
3. COMPLETE MIGRATION: The entire Tuvalau population relocate elsewhere
4. AD HOC MIGRATION: Tuvaluans are dispersed throughout the world when
a crisis forces them to do so
5. DELIBERATE MIGRATION: The entire Tuvalu population moves en masse to
another location in a planned manner
A comparison of these potential options against various relevant criterea
suggests that the optimal approach is probably a deliberate and complete
An underlying aim of this study is for the Tuvaluan
community to establish a settlement with a high degree of self-reliance
- enough for basic food and resources. This is both an economic and practical
imperative - it improves resilience (physically and culturally) and ensures
that the relocation is not an economic burden on the host nation. As
such, a relocated Tuvalu community should live within the CARRYING
CAPACITY of its local environment.
Carrying capacity based land-use planning links a particular
population with a particular piece of land. It assumes a reasonable degree
of self reliance in the generation of food and resources within the defined
area of land. Population size and lifestyle choices are then limited to
the landscape. This approach ensures long term, sustainable outcomes because
it recognises that our natural environment offers finite resources for
It is thus important to establish the amount of land
needed for basic self reliance. Further study needs to be conducted on
thorough carrying capacity calculations, but preliminary research suggests
that a land area of about 25km² is necessary for this population
of 10,500 people. This calculation is based on the following premises:
- 1600m² is required
per person for food and fuel
- 30% of the landscape needs
to be dedicated to nature reserve in order to maintain adequate biodiversity.
This equates to about 800m² per person.
- 5% of land area might need
to be utilised in any settlement for infrastructure (buildings, roads,
- Total = about 2500m²
per person, or 4 people per hectare.
- Applied to a settlement
of about 10,500 people: 17km² of usable land (food, resources &
infrastructure) + 8km² nature reserve = 25km² total