01/22/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Where Climate Change Catastrophe is NOT a Hypothetical

Just this month, a top UN official predicted that by the middle of this century, the world should expect six million people a year to be displaced by increasingly severe storms and floods caused by climate change. But for many island nations in the South Pacific, climate change is already more than just a theory -- it is a pressing, menacing reality.

2008-12-22-huff_paradise.jpgThese small, low-lying islands are frighteningly vulnerable to rising temperatures and sea levels that could cause flooding and contaminate their fresh water wells. Within 50 years, some of them could be under water.

Travel with NOW on PBS to the nation of Kiribati to see up close how these changes affect residents' daily lives and how they are dealing with the reality that both their land and culture could disappear from the Earth. We also travel to New Zealand to visit an I-Kiribati community that has already left its home, and to the Pacific Island Forum in Niue to see how the rest of the region is coping with the here-and-now crisis of climate change.

Watch below a web-exclusive companion piece to the main show: How the island nation Niue -- the smallest democracy in the world -- is relying on techniques new and old to save itself.