Great news from the scuba-diving tropical paradise Maldives. They’ve just opened another airport.
This means that the Indian Ocean island nation now has four international airports and seven domestic ones. Quite a lot for a country with a population of less than 400,000. Presumably they have high hopes for their tourist industry as they develop luxury resorts on ever more remote atolls.
I wonder if these Maldives realise just how lucky they are. For, by weird coincidence, in pretty much the same geographic region is another island nation with exactly the same name.
And this other Maldives is in deep trouble. Indeed, it is daily on the brink of disaster because of the constant threat that its low-lying coral atolls could be swamped by the rising sea levels caused by man-made climate change.
We know this because all the experts have been telling us so.
Here is a report from an Independent journalist who bravely flew to this tropical disaster zone last year and, at the risk of being drowned any second, stayed long enough to conduct an interview with its climate activist former president Mohamed Nasheed. (Nasheed was once described by British Prime Minister David Cameron as “my new best friend”.)
And still the waters rise. Nasheed, who has two daughters, insists the Maldives can function and survive, but not without major change here and globally. He is now campaigning for “climate justice”, and the planning for a forced, mass migration to higher ground, a future he says the Government is not facing up to…
Here’s Damian Carrington, in the Guardian, who was also lucky enough to speak to David Cameron’s best friend.
Mohamed Nasheed, whose advocacy as president put the Maldives on the climate change map, is uncertain. Asked for the odds of his grandchildren inheriting an inhabitable Maldives, he says: “50-50.”
And here’s AOL Travel in a piece called “Maldives to disappear soon due to climate change.”
Here’s the World Bank: “Climate change presents a challenge for every island in the Maldives, which all lie on the sea level. Any changes in the climate will greatly affect the Maldivian way of life.”
Here’s the UN Foundation: “Climate change is a serious threat to low lying islands like Maldives whose landmass is close to sea level. The projected rise in sea level over the next century due to climate change is commonly agreed to be about one meter. The highest point on this island nation is one meter. Learn more about the existential threat of climate change on this island and learn more about how the country is pressing for global action on climate change.”
And let us never forget the tragically moving, yet cheery-in-the-face-of-disaster underwater cabinet meeting staged by the Maldives government in 2009 to draw international attention to the terrible and imminent threat these poor islands face.
Luckily I have thought up a brilliant solution to this problem. Maybe the lucky Maldives (the thriving tourist paradise) could help the unlucky Maldives (the one about to be drowned by global warming) with money and material aid. Perhaps it could use its vast tourist revenues to mitigate against any problems caused by this terrible “climate change” thing. Perhaps it could use its 11 airports to help evacuate the other Maldives’ climate refugees.
This is the kind of joined-up thinking that helps save the world. Do you think I should suggest to the Vatican as a possible subject for the Pope’s next encyclical?