For thousands of years, our people of the central Caroline Islands have sustained lives and a healthy lifestyle on remote low lying island atolls. Central to the lifestyle were our sustainable cultural and traditional practices, which allowed for us to live side by side with nature and its resources.
Most significant of these defining resources: the vast Pacific Ocean. While our culture has withstood the change of time over centuries, the pace and scope of outside influence is growing at an unprecedented pace. Moreover, there is now an even bigger threat at global level; climate change and impact of sea level rise that have put further stress on such low lying atolls and the meager resources available.
More and more of our people in the neighboring islands are relocating to the main island of Yap. Broadly, neighboring islanders migrate to this urbanizing center to seek better opportunities such as medical needs, education, and to participate in the cash economy. While this is still the case today, we cannot ignore this looming problem in the not too distant future; that of climate change and the sea level rise.
Some impact of the sea level rise has already taken its toll on certain low-lying islands. This situation paints a darker picture for the 36% state population that currently resides out in these remote islands. It will inevitably force the people to seek higher grounds
for permanent residency where food and other basic human needs are met. Hence, the embryonic outer island settlements in the main island are expected to increase in residential population over the next decade.
This will pose some expected challenges that the communities themselves need to address early on. Such problems will mostly arise out of cultural differences, if not culture shock, as the community members readjust to their new lifestyle. These problems will include health related issues, as people adjust from a diet of local produce to spam and other imported goods, lesser physical exercise, etc. Traditions of the past will have the added risk of being lost.