Tuvalu is a small country consisting of nine islands nestled in the Pacific Ocean halfway between Australia and Hawaii. During high tide, 40 percent of the capital district is underwater, and that percentage is increasing. In 1989, the UN highlighted a number of island nations, including Tuvalu, that would most likely be flooded at some point in the 21st century.
This disturbing prophecy has been looming over Tuvalu ever since. Tuvalu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simon Kofe, stated in 2021 that drastic action must be taken against climate change to avoid losing Tuvalu to rising ocean levels. The following year, he made another speech announcing that Tuvalu would be recreated digitally and uploaded to the Metaverse. Kofe stated: “It appears we have no choice but to become the world’s first digital nation.”
The project not only aims to preserve the landscape and culture of Tuvalu, but also serves to conserve its rights and boundaries as a nation, even if the country becomes fully submerged. As innovative and creative as this initiative is, it also raises questions of sovereignty, ownership, and ethics. No other question is as pressing as that of who rules a digital state. Can the parliament of Tuvalu sustain its sovereignty, or will the owners of the servers on which the nation is dependent demand power?
Photo courtesy of Freepik / 照片：Freepik提供
What rights will the Metaverse, an American corporation, have over the heritage and legacy of Tuvalu? If Tuvalu wants to truly be in charge of its virtual state, it would need to own its own servers. Where would it house these? There is also the issue of powering the servers, as data centers are known for their excessive energy consumption. This would go against Tuvalu’s attempts to reduce carbon emissions.
Despite the many challenges Tuvalu now confronts, the nation is remaining hopeful for the future, be it physical or digital.
nestle v. 坐落於；位於
prophecy n. 預言
submerge v. 淹沒；下潛
1. percentage n. 百分比；比例
The percentage of students who passed the exam was higher than expected.
2. loom v. 籠罩；逐漸逼近
Dark clouds loomed on the horizon, signaling an approaching storm.
3. drastic adj. 嚴厲的；激烈的
The company had to take drastic measures to cut costs. 這間公司必須採取嚴厲的措施來降低成本。
4. boundary n. 邊界；界線
The river marks the boundary between the two countries. 這條河川標示出兩國之間的邊界。
5. sovereignty n. 主權；統治權
The country declared its sovereignty and independence from colonial rule.
6. pressing adj. 迫切的；緊急的
The manager had to attend to a pressing matter and could not join the meeting.
7. parliament n. 議會；國會
The bill was passed by the parliament after a heated debate. 在經過激烈的辯論後，議會通過了這項法案。
8. dependent adj. 依賴的；取決於……的
The child is still dependent on his parents for financial support. 這個孩子仍依賴著父母的經濟支助。
9. excessive adj. 過度的
The government has implemented measures to curb excessive use of natural resources.
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對話 Dialogue 清清：明天就是中秋節了，你要不要回家跟家人一起過節？ Qīngqing:Míngtiān jiùshì Zhōngqiū jiéle, nǐ yào búyào huíjiā gēn jiārén yìqǐ guòjié? 華華：要啊！我很早就買好高鐵票了。中秋節是華人最重要的三大節之一，可以的話，一定要回家跟家人團聚的。 Huáhua:Yào a! Wǒ hěn zǎo jiù mǎi hào gāotiěpiàole. Zhōngqiū jié shì Huárén zuì zhòngyào de sān dà jié zhī yī, kěyǐ dehuà, yídìng yào huíjiā gēn jiārén tuánjù de. 清清：我們家今年還是會烤肉，你們家呢？ Qīngqing: Wǒmen jiā jīnnián háishì huì kǎoròu, nǐmen jiā ne? 華華：我家從來不烤肉，只全家一起一邊賞月，一邊吃月餅和柚子，開開心心地聊一晚上的天。 Huáhua: Wǒjiā cónglái bù kǎoròu, zhǐ quánjiā yìqǐ yìbiān shǎng yuè, yìbiān chī yuèbǐng hàn yòuzi, kāikāixīnxīn de liáo yì wǎnshàng de tiān. 清清：蛤？中秋節烤肉是台灣特有的節慶文化，不烤好可惜。 Qīngqing: Há? Zhōngqiū jié kǎoròu shì Táiwān tèyǒu de jiéqìng wénhuà, bùkǎo hǎo kěxí. 華華：話雖如此，但大家都烤肉，引起的空氣污染，確實也是一大問題。 Huáhua:Huà suī rúcǐ, dàn dàjiā dōu kǎoròu, yǐnqǐ de kōngqì wūrǎn, quèshí yěshì yí dà wèntí. 清清：你真環保！那我今年少烤一點肉好了，留點肚子吃月餅跟柚子吧！中秋節快樂！ Qīngqing: