So, on a new Monday morning, as I wrestled with yet another cup of coffee, I started the process of scanning my e-mails from around the world. Due to my interest in extreme weather and climate change, I have established a regional climate change organization to study short term and long term weather impacts on the Jackson Purchase part of Kentucky.
Thus, in my e-mail this day was a story about the island nation of Republic of Maldives. This small nation in the Indian Ocean is actually a series of 1200 islands linked into a common culture and nationhood. The story I was following is their attempt to survive in this new era of extreme weather and results of climate change. The Independent newspaper (London) in its March 10, 2010 issue broke a story on the future plans of Maldives Islands written by Andrew Buncombe.
A 21st Century threat to the islands is that 80 % of the islands land space is only 1 meter above ground. High water from earthquake driven tsunamis, melting polar ice, and extreme rain driven storms high waves can mean the death of this culture and their lands.
Last year, the President of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, dramatized the plight of his nation by having a cabinet meeting under water where each cabinet member wore scuba equipment as part of the meeting and media show. He also tried to purchase a back up nation state to be located in either India or in Sir Lanka. That effort failed. So too, did President Nasheed‘s efforts to influence the Global Climate Change conference in Copenhagen.
Much of the world attention at the 2009 climate change conference in Copenhagen centered on the plight of nations like the Maldives Islands. Despite the attention, small nations like the Maldives voices and others failed to stir more than sympathy at the Conference for their plight. The conference is now seen as a media and public relations disaster for the entire climate change issue. Coming out of Copenhagen was no single overwhelming big nation agreement between the heavy industrial nations as to the course or timeframe for addressing immediate climate change trends.
The Independent article by Andrew Buncombe stated:
“The island nation of the Maldives, confronted by rising oceans and a landscape that is just a few feet above sea level, is poised to build a floating golf course and convention centre in what could be the first of a series of futuristic off-shore developments designed to confront the threat of global warming.
The country's government has signed an agreement with a Dutch firm to investigate the feasibility of developing a number of facilities that would be located among the 26 main atolls. It is likely the company, Dutch Docklands, will also look into the possibility of building floating homes.
It has previously built floating islands in Dubai. Dutch Docklands, which was involved in developing some of the man-made islands that make up The World resort in Dubai, describes itself as "the global leader in floating developments, concepts and infrastructure". Its website adds: "Our Intellectual Property is based on hundreds of years of experience in the battle against water in the Netherlands."
"The methods and procedures developed by the company for floating developments reduce the impact on underwater life, and minimize the changes to coastal morphology," said a statement issued by the office of President Mohamed Nasheed.
John Donne was way ahead of his time.
No man is an island
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were;
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.