The Maldives Archipelago is one of the most idyllic destinations on the planet; beautiful tropical islands in the Indian Ocean surrounded by coral reefs abundant with sea life. It is also one of the lowest nations on the planet. About 80% of the 1,200 islands are less than three feet above sea level, so if sea levels rise by 23 inches over the next century, as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Maldives will disappear beneath the waves. 14 islands have already been abandoned, and the Maldivian population will eventually have to evacuate their country, becoming the first refugee victims of global warming.
Unfortunately, on their own the Maldives can do nothing to combat climate change and prevent rises in sea level, and as a result they must face the reality that they will lose their land. The Maldivian President, Mohamed Nasheed, says that his people obviously want to remain on the islands, but “moving was an eventuality his government had to plan for.” In the Search for a new home for his countries 350,000 citizens he looked at India and Sri Lanka (due to cultural similarities) but has eventually settled on Australia. Nasheed set up a sovereign savings account, funded by revenue from tourism, with which he has been buying land on high ground because “he did not want his people living in tents for years, or decades, as refugees.”
The island nations of Tuvalu and Kiribati are also facing similar problems and have approached the Australian government to discuss the possibility of immigration assistance, hoping that they could move their entire nations to Australia, but thanks to their president the Maldives are one step ahead in as much as they will already own their own land and will therefore not require the bureaucratic generosity of other nations.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…