A predicted sea level rise of 59cm that would swallow the Maldive atolls has spurred their president, Mohamed Nasheed, to consider a new home for his people… with Australia being a top choice.
The president, obviously concerned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s conclusion that we’ll all be over half-a-metre closer to the ocean within 100 years, has selected Australia, along with India and Sri Lanka, as possible destinations for Maldivian refugees.
Speaking with SMH, the president explained that keeping the islands in their “natural” state was already a challenge, one that would only continue to increase in difficulty. Australia was a compelling choice for relocation, thanks to its “climate and abundance of space”.
If you think it’s a bit premature for him to be looking for a new home, consider that the Maldives have already lost 14 islands to the encroaching sea. SMH also points out that the country’s highest point doesn’t even break two-and-a-half metres above sea level. A quarter of that will be gone within a century.
I think the looming question here is can the Maldives be saved at all, given immediate and drastic action? I guess we’ll know come 2112. Well, our children will, and they can feed the data via punch card into our cryonic brain capsules.
Image: Sarah Ackerman