Maldives Government Takes Climate Change Action Below Sea Level
The lowest nation on Earth went completely underwater last week; well, their government did, for a cabinet meeting. President Mohammed Nasheed and 13 other government officials threw on their scuba gear, took their chairs, desks and papers with them, and conducted the meeting through the use of hand signals. The purpose of this underwater event was to draw international attention to the seriousness of Global Warming, particularly to the Maldives itself.
“What we are trying to make people realize is that the Maldives is a frontline state. This is not merely an issue for the Maldives but for the world,” Nasheed said. “We have to get the message across by being more imaginative, more creative and so this is what we are doing”.
During the meeting, Nasheed and fellow cabinet members signed a document requesting all countries to cut their CO2 emissions. And it’s no wonder; the Maldives has the highest risk of being completely submerged underwater. Over 80 percent of the land—which is mostly coral islands scattered 530 miles (850 kilometers) across the equator—is less than 3.3 feet (1 meter) above sea level. With the rate that ocean temperatures are raising, and glaciers and ice floes are melting, it will easily be less than a century before they will need to seek out a new home.
President Nasheed has announced plans for a fund that will enable him to buy a new homeland for his people, should the worse happen. He has also promised to make the Maldives the first carbon-neutral nation within a decade. And if you’re wondering how they handled their diving experience: the President is a certified diver, but the others needed lessons; not to mention, they were only 20 feet (6 meters) underwater.
Should their underwater call-out to other nations be a failure, their work was not done completely in vain. The government officials signed their wetsuits and will be donating them to an auction held on ProtectMaldives.com, in order to raise money for coral reef protection in the Atoll-chain.
By Heidi Marshall