Selected talks from the 2011 SLOW LIFE Symposium are now available to view in full.
The 2011 SLOW LIFE Symposium convened some of the world’s leading thinkers, policy makers and business leaders in the incredible setting of Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. Where better to address the key challenges and innovative solutions for a sustainable tourism industry than in the midst of an island nation?
On an international scale, The Maldives is at the forefront of the international effort to cap global greenhouse gas emissions, punching far above its weight in global negotiations. A nation of 1,200 low-lying islands, the Maldives is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels, ocean acidification and over-fishing – just some of the topics on the agenda at the Symposium. In his keynote speech, President Nasheed of the Maldives observed that in negotiations, the world is divided:
“On the one hand are the rich countries. Surprisingly, the leader of these countries, the United States, is the most debted country in the world. The leader of the poor group of countries is the biggest investor in the world – The People’s Republic of China”
Asking for an end to the ‘bickering and squabbling’ about who should cut carbon and by how much, President Nasheed reminded the audience of the vulnerability of countries like the Maldives that live on cutting edge of climate change and for whom time is running out: “If you are rich or poor, it doesn’t matter – the amount of carbon in the atmostphere is going to kill us. We have a window of opportunity of about seven years. If leaders are not able to sort it out, they should stop calling themselves leaders.”
Calling for a change of perception of climate change as an earth science issue, President Nasheed makes the case that it is also an economic, development, security and development issue: “In the ‘70s, Iceland was still a developing country. They have been able to tap into renewable sources of energy and become a developed country. The Maldives would need to become carbon neutral even if there was no climate change as it is an economic issue. We have possibilities for solar, but we have no resources for fossil fuel.”
In the year since the 2010 Symposium, the government of the Maldives has introduced the following measures towards their carbon neutral goal:
- Published an online carbon neutral electricity plan, which promises to deliver 60% solar by 2020 without putting bills up
- State electricity company signed the first contract under a new renewable energy feed-in tariff
- The Transport Ministry has announced a new import regime to ensure petrol cars are more expensive and electric cars are cheaper in future
- All renewable energy products are now duty free
It is estimated that the current set of government policies will achieve 50% carbon neutrality. In the coming months and years, more policies will be introduced to reach the 100% target.
President Nasheed’s talk to the Symposium ends with a surprise request from actor Edward Norton to fill a future vacancy in the US….
To view all available talks from the 2011 SLOW LIFE Symposium, click here.