Pristine powdery beaches, exotic location, crystal clear waters, incredible underwater life, temperate climate – the Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean are what dreams are made of when considering the tropical paradise vacation of a lifetime. Now what about holding a government meeting underwater, using scuba gear to make the point that climate change and sea level rise are threatening the very existence of the Maldives? Many Island states are on the front line of climate change, particularly in a country like the Maldives where 80% of the state is less than one meter or 3 feet above sea level.
The Maldives have been inhabited for close to 2,000 years and scientists feel that unstoppable sea level rise will require that the population, which is now scattered over 200 of the more than 1000 islands that make up the state, will need to be consolidated on just 10 or 15 islands, in all likelihood within the next 50 years. Consideration is being given to how to artificially elevate the islands by two or three meters, how to build dikes and retaining walls and a myriad of other “out of the box” ideas for staving off the rising seas. We thought you might find the pictures on the recent undersea “cabinet meeting”, while humorous to a point, also “in your face upsetting”, as real evidence of the effects on coastal and island populations due to climate change. Does it make you think twice about those amazing properties on the Jersey shore, the Oregon coast or on Orcas Island of the coast of Washington state??….Click on this link for more on the October 2009 underwater Maldives cabinet meeting.