Imagine being told that the place you grew up and loved was sinking and you’d have to leave. Aside from the sadness, there would be anger; particularly if you knew that other humans were to blame.
Such are the prospects for some island nations such as the Maldives; a group of islands that exist just a few feet above sea water. The Tsunami of 2004 was a mighty tap on the shoulder for the people of the Maldives. Many lost their lives, their homes. Nearly one hundred islands were completely flooded or half flooded.
The new threat comes from rising ocean levels due to global warming. Seas are rising due to increased melt from glaciers, but also the fact that warmer water expands.
Instead of the Maldives just waiting for this to happen, the new government plans to buy land in other countries such as Sri Lanka, India and even Australia as places to resettle their people ahead of time rather than winding up as refugees at the mercy of generosity of others.
While this is prudent forward thinking on their part; nothing will save the unique local ecosystems that will inevitably be inundated by the ocean.
But should they have to buy this land? Isn’t our collective fault and therefore our collective responsibility? This is the other issue regarding climate change that is rarely mentioned; helping those we’ve doomed through our hyperconsumption. It’s not just a warm and fuzzy thing to do – it may prevent a great deal of bloodshed through conflict in the years ahead when climate change refugee situations become more commonplace.