The 2017 documentary called The Island President, is a portrayal of President Mohamed Nasheed as he works to save the people of Maldives from a rising sea. He is a democratically elected President who had been a political prisoner 12 times, suffered solitary confinement and torture by the dictator who had been in power for 30 years.
The Maldives islands are visibly disappearing. At the climate change summit of Copenhagen in 2009, President Nasheed pointed out that carbon emissions should be a concern to everyone, since Manhattan is at the same sea level as the Maldives.
He tells those major powers who are reluctant to come to any climate change agreement, bluntly, “You are not really listening, not paying attention to the right thing.” His persistence is key.
He continues to address climate deniers, “Yes, there are also people who don’t believe the world is round. Sea levels are rising whether you choose to admit it or not….We had to get democracy, because I didn’t want my children to be in solitary confinement. Now, I don’t want us to be climate change refugees.” As a result of the climate change summit in Copenhagen, we achieved the world’s first climate change agreement.
Around here, the west coast climate also seems to be shifting, dramatically, from years of drought to relentless rain, flooding, mud slides, tornadoes and other surprises. I notice a spell in the downpour and calm myself with a walk through the forest. My hope is that enough people do not get stuck in panic and paralysis but stay activated in whatever way they can for the greater good.