English poet and all round clever chap John Donne famously coined the phrase 'no man is an island' to encapsulate his belief that we are all part of mankind, cogs in a living breathing machine. The metaphor is far from perfect.
Islands are not self-contained entities floating in the ocean. To the contrary, island life is generally more holistically connected to the world at large than life in valleys or the middle of plains. The myriad ways that islands are affected by the world and their inability to rely on size to absorb change, put them at risk. Whether the threat is mass tourism or climate change, many islands perch on the edge. Today, they embody continuity and natural beauty. Tomorrow, who knows.
Here are some beautiful islands on the edge. Get going.
Nestled quietly in the Gulf of Thailand is beautiful Phú Qu
572 islands, islets and rocks sweep across the Bay of Bengal. Often called the 'Emerald Islands,' these jungle-clad droplets are scattered almost 700 kilometres from north to south and are home to a unique array of flora and fauna. This fragile area is taking the brunt of changing weather patterns as global warming causes underwater volcano activity and a rise in water temperature that heightens the risk of cyclones and tornadoes.
This archipelago sits atop a vast undersea mountain range in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, the very tips of which pepper the ocean as small islets. A staggering 80% of this island nation is a measly one meter above sea level, meaning residents are right at the forefront of the climate change debate. With future sea levels projected to rise, the government has decided to use some of the income generated by tourism to set up a 'new home' fund for residents.
These extraordinary islands support the uniquely fragile ecosystem that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. It's estimated that over 9,000 different species call these islands home, but the introduction of invasive species to these shores poses a great threat to possibly the most delicately balanced ecosystem on the planet. Couple that with extreme weather changes and a growing tourism industry and it's easy to see why human visits to these fair islands may soon be capped.
Boy, have the property developers got their eyes on this little Spice Island. For years, Zanzibar has enjoyed a small drip feed of discerning travellers looking for some post-safari beach time. This has kept the island peacefully quiet and free of high rise eyesores. But, plans are afoot to usher in a new age of mass-market tourism. Pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap no thank you. Get here, and quick.
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