Hilda Heine is president of the Marshall Islands and chairs the Climate Vulnerable Forum. Patrick Verkooijen is chief executive of the Global Center on Adaptation and Managing Partner of the Climate Vulnerable Forum.
The Marshall Islands and other atoll countries in the Pacific will be the first nations to face extinction as a result of global warming. Rising sea levels could wipe them off the map in a matter of decades. Endless floods will make them uninhabitable even sooner. But, for purely selfish reasons, the world should not let them drown; the Marshall Islands have much to teach us about adapting to climate change.