The islands that make up Maldives are in serious trouble, and the country’s President, Mohammed Nasheed, has decided to stir up some extra funds to protect the nation from climate change and related consequences – particularly rising sea levels, as none of the 120 islands which make up the country are higher than 6 feet above sea level.
At the rate the sea level is rising, the entire country will be submerged under water by 2100.
However, Maldives has one thing going for it: the gorgeous islands attract 700,000 tourists every year, and make up one quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product. Since, on average, each tourist spends 3 days on the island, the President has proposed a tax be instituted for every day a non-resident spends in Maldives. The rate he proposed to parliament, $3 per day, will add up to around $6.3 million dollars every year.
These additional funds will help sustainable energy projects the country started earlier this year, including a $1.1 billion initiative to switch the whole nation over to renewable energy from fossil fuels. The funds will also be used to offset the emissions caused by tourists flying into the country.
Although the proposed tax won’t be put in place unless parliament approves, it may be one of the last straws used to keep the country afloat for the next 100 years. But the true problem doesn’t lie within the small island nation, but rather the rest of the world.
While everyone has seen images of ice flows disappearing and glaciers breaking off, we rarely think about the consequences this will have on the other side of the world, where the additional water will be literally drowning island nations, and forcing its inhabitants to become refugees.
It won’t just be the polar bears who are suffering as a result of climate change, but many island inhabitants as well.