The Republic of the Maldives, an archipelago of 1,190 islands draped like a delicate necklace over the equator, is one of the world’s most low-lying countries. Beloved by locals and tourists alike, the beauty of these tranquil islands belies the great threat they face to their very existence.
For the Maldives is fighting a battle on two fronts. Rising sea levels threaten to submerge the Maldives by the end of the century. Increased carbon dioxide emissions are also warming and acidifying the world’s oceans, threatening to destroy coral reefs – the same pristine coral reefs that support tourism and fishing, the country’s two main industries.
‘This is a law of nature. This is something that nature has already defined for us. This is the limit the earth can tolerate of our interference with the carbon cycle and the planet.’
Mark Lynas, author and climate change advisor to President Nasheed, SLOW LIFE Symposium 2010
Named a ‘Hero of the Environment’ by Time Magazine, President Nasheed of the Maldives has called for his country to become the world’s first carbon neutral nation by 2020. Economic and energy security concerns also underpin the country’s carbon neutral goal. The Maldives is one of Asia’s most oil-dependent countries and rising oil prices pose a very real and dangerous threat to the Maldivian economy.
The SLOW LIFE Symposium seeks to support all small island and progressive states in their shared endeavours to create a sustainable, low-carbon future.
‘We believe in human ingenuity. We believe it is possible to work against the odds and succeed.’
President Nasheed of the Maldives, SLOW LIFE Symposium 2010