Despite the many signs that climate is already happening, hence the need to switch to alternative energy to mitigate its effects, for the people living in the low-lying Maldive islands, climate change means, literally, the end.
The archipelago of 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean would become inhabitable if the sea rises three feet. It would submerge and the country would be wiped out of the Earth.
A new movie called The Island President, directed by Jon Shenk and which was released on DVD on Friday, tells the story of the country’s former president Mohamed Nasheed, who has become known for his trip to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, where he made a plea to the world to act fast in order to ward off the worst consequences of climate change.
The film captures Nasheed’s first year of office and culminates with his trip to the summit, providing a rare glimpse of the political dealings that goes on at such a top-level global assembly.
Nasheed brought democracy to the Maldives after thirty years of despotic rule, but even worse that the dictatorship he helped to displace is the threat to the very existence of his country. He is usually candid about his strategies, which include leveraging the Maldives’ underdog position as a tiny country, harnessing the power of media, and overcoming deadlocks through an appeal to unity with other developing nations.
At the 2009 summit, when delegates had lost hope to get an accord to be signed, Nasheed made a stirring speech which salvaged an agreement. Despite the modest size of his country, Mohamed Nasheed has become one of the leading international voices for urgent action on climate change.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.