Saturday, May 25, 2013
THE MALDIVES…SOON TO DISAPPEAR?
Is the Republic of the Maldives sinking beneath the ocean? On February 10th of this year, my blog was about The World's Most Romantic Islands. Item #6 on that list was the Maldives, a collection of islands in the Indian Ocean off the western coast of Sri Lanka.
Unfortunately, one of the world's most romantic islands seems to be disappearing into the ocean.
The Republic of the Maldives consists of 1,190 islands with an average above sea level altitude of only 1.5 meters (a little less than 5ft.). According to NPR, climate change and rising sea levels could cause the country to sink below sea level. In a 2007 address in front of a climate change meeting at the United Nations, the President of the Maldives said, "In some cases, island communities have had to be relocated to safer islands. Without immediate action, the long-term habitation of our tiny islands is in serious doubt."
However, a professor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand didn't agree. A 2009 Los Angeles Times article quoted him as saying, "The outlook for the Maldives is not all doom and gloom. The islands won't be the same, but they will still be there."
The professor published a report along with other scientists from Australia, New Zealand and the Maldives claiming that the islands can adjust to the environmental changes and will ultimately change shape by building vertically.
The future remains to be seen, but if the Maldives are on your travel list you might want to consider moving it closer to the top of the list.