What I find truly amazing is the newly-elected government of the Maldives, an archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean, is seriously considering buying a whole new land for its 380,000 citizens.
Reason – the ocean level is rising by the month, and the atolls of the Maldives are in great danger of becoming submerged. The highest point of land is only 2.4 metres above sea level.
We had the privilege and experience of visiting the Maldives on several occasions by ship. It’s made up of a chain of 1,200 islands and coral atolls about 500 miles from the tip of the Indian continent. The new president, 41-year old Mohamed Nasheed, is a human rights activist who was once imprisoned (a former political prisoner, like Nelson Mandela). He started his tenure in the islands’ capital of Male last week. This is the Maldives’ first democratically-elected president.
According to the report, tourism brings in $1 billion a year, so there is ‘cash’ for this colossal real-estate acquisition in the making. They will create a “sovereign wealth fund”.
President Nasheed, also known as “Anni”, is preparing for a mass exodus. He’s eyeing and enormous tract of land in either Sri Lanka, India or Australia as options to safeguard his people from becoming the first climate change refugees.
“We can do nothing to stop climate change on our own and so we have to buy land elsewhere. It’s an insurance policy for the worst possible outcome,” he said. “We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades.”
Here we have one of several nations becoming victim of this human-caused problem. Cause and effect. Gratifying to see that at least somewhere, one leader is concerned about his people’s safety and well-being. Signing off for now, Henri