President Nasheed of the Maldives was not being overly dramatic when he stated that global warming is a very real threat to the existence of his country. As most of the Maldive Islands are only about 1.5 meters above sea level, even a very small change in sea level could make them uninhabitable. In fact, the threat is so imminent that the government of the Maldives has begun devoting a portion of the country’s tourist revenue (which drives the Maldives economy) toward a fund to purchase a new homeland, should the island chain be submerged underwater. Of course, there is no guarantee that it will be possible for the people of the Maldives to find a new homeland even with this money, or that the whole population can be moved safely to a new place. The Maldives provide only one of many examples from around the world where entire populations and cultures are threatened by the industrialized world’s commitment to burning fossil fuels.
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