Tales from Kerala’s villages facing the brunt of rising sea levels

As one of India’s most densely populated states and with over a million fisherfolk, Kerala is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. What’s the way out?

N. Sathyarajan, a fisherman in Alappad village of Kerala, is a worried man. The sea, the source of his livelihood, is changing. He hasn’t heard about polar ice caps melting, global warming, or even climate change. But he knows that in his 75 years, the sea abutting his village has been rising and becoming a lot hotter.

He offers me a rusted steel chair to sit on in his veranda and points to a neighbour’s house. A movie hall once stood at the spot, he says. “I still remember watching Jeevitha Nouka (a Malayalam film released in 1951). The place …


Rejimon Kuttappan

Rejimon Kuttappan is an independent journalist and the author of Undocumented: Stories of Indian Migrants in the Arab Gulf (Penguin, November 2021).