Quietly, very quietly the high tide came in from the Bay of Bengal. And with it, one of the most dire predictions of global warming became a reality: rising sea levels inundate previously inhabited island.
Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.
As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.
Eight years ago, as exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, the first uninhabited islands - in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati - vanished beneath the waves. The people of low-lying islands in Vanuatu, also in the Pacific, have been evacuated as a precaution, but the land still juts above the sea. The disappearance of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented.
It sucks, being right about this. I would much prefer that conservatives were right, that there is nothing we could do that would damage the environment. But that is not the case.
Of course when the first islands in the deep sea began to sink beneath the waves some years ago, conservatives made a pretty ridiculous claim-- that the sea floor beneath them was sinking. But one point to make about the Sundarbans-- is that they are part of the Asian continent. So if conservatives made a similar claim here they'd have to claim that Asia was sinking (presumably into the mantle) so that the sea floor was rising.