Islands of the Damned


| July-August 2009



Island of the Damned

image by J. Alex Stamos

While most of the world is still squabbling over the pros and cons of various clean energy innovations, island nations like Kiribati and the Maldives are already staring down the cataclysmic consequences of climate change. According to Science News (Feb. 28, 2009), both countries “face the prospect of slow submersion in this century if temperatures keep increasing and polar ice keeps melting.”

With no time for the long term, leaders are drafting escape plans: In the Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, President Mohamed Nasheed has proposed a national trust fund “to help pay for a new homeland, should future generations have to evacuate.” In the central Pacific, Kiribati’s leader, Anote Tong, has asked the governments of nearby Australia and New Zealand for help training citizens in skilled professions so that they can eventually find new jobs—and new lives—abroad.