Maldives Government Holds Parliament Under Water in Protest
Image from the Guardian
The Maldives, that little stretch of paradise off the coast of India, is living in fear of the impact of climate change. With rising sea levels predicted, the chain of 1,200 islands and coral atolls could disappear under the ocean. The president, Mohamed Nasheed, has been relentless in his campaign to save his homeland.
Next week his cabinet will hold its first meeting underwater. The ministers will don wetsuits and air tanks and meet in "parliament" 20 feet under the sea. It's all part of his efforts to draw the attention of the world's leaders to the gravity of global warming, in the lead up to the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.
Image from Miadhu News
There are a number of technical details to be worked out. According to an article in the Guardian, ministers will communicate through hand gestures and use waterproof pens. Their documents will be covered in waterproof plates and pinned down to the table.
Not everyone can attend: the education minister isn't in good enough shape to make it under. This will probably be the only meeting to take place in the azure blue waters, as one official said "If it were to go on the paperwork would be very, very challenging."
President Nasheed is a very serious environmentalist and a qualified scuba diver. Earlier this year he announced that the Maldives would become carbon neutral within ten years.. He has also said that he is searching for a new homeland for the country's citizens. And he is imposing a climate change tax on tourists to pay for this.
As for the cabinet meeting: it is intended to "draw the attention of the world leaders to the issue of global warming and highlight how serious are the threats faced by Maldives as a result. If we can stop climate change, the lowest-lying nation on earth will be saved."
More on the Maldives and Global Warming
Maldives Looking for New Home
Maldives to Be First Carbon Neutral Country
Maldives Plans Tourist Tax to Fund Climate Change Mitigation