"The Maldives are disappearing. At about a meter above sea level, the Maldives is on of the world's lowest lying countries. The UN climate panel projects that unless greenhouse emissions are curbed, sea levels could rise by 25 to 58 centimeters by the end of the century. More recent studies project higher rising levels. If the estimates prove true, the Maldives will be eventually rendered uninhabitable.
I was invited to the Maldives to attend a United Nations hosted session to meet and discuss the Maldives' implementation of its new country-wide carbon neutral policy. The Maldivian government's decision to accelerate voluntarily the reduction of ozone depleting substances and greenhouse gasses (i.e., air conditioning and refrigerant gasses) stems from the drastically rising sea levels and temperatures threatening irreparable damage to the paradise we love.
The President of the Republic of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, celebrated the policy implementation and funding partnership by addressing the session today. Since taking office, this young President has been a maverick in pushing the country towards a more environmentally and economically sustainable future. He is a bold visionary and has a history of telling the truth fearlessly. While working as a journalist, President Nasheed served several lengthy prison terms for publicly criticizing the Maldives government. Last year, Time Magazine named him a Hero of the Environment. In April, 2010, he was named a winner of the 'Champions of the Earth' award for policy leadership by the United Nations. In his role as President, he is committed to bringing to the world's attention--the Maldives' environmental crisis. He knows the unique and fragile Maldives ecosystem is the canary in the coal mine for developing countries--if not the rest of the world.
President Mohmed Nasheed knows his country is in trouble. But, he is not just finding someone else to blame for it; he is taking responsibility and doing something about it. The Maldives is the first country in the world to make a formal commitment to become completely carbon-neutral. They are accomplishing this ambitious voluntary goal with implementation funding and technological support from the United Nations Environmental Program, the United Nations Development Program and the Multilateral Fund. Specifically, the Maldives is going to phase out global warming gasses, HCFC's, voluntarily ten years ahead of the Montreal Protocol phase out schedule for developing countries..." Read the rest of Indagare member Tiffany Schauer's postcard on how the Maldives is becoming a leader n the world of new ideas to solve our environmental crisis