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October 16, 2009
Maldives underwater meeting to address climate change

Small island nations have much at stake at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

The Maldives, along with other islands such as Seychelles and Tuvalu, is organizing a series of activities and events to pressure the international community to take action. On Saturday it will hold an underwater cabinet meeting designed to highlight the danger Maldives faces from rising waters and rising temperatures.

Global Voices Online posted a roundup of blogs from Maldives explaining what the small island nation is doing to publicize the urgency of the issue.

One of the first major events, run by, was a Global Climate Wake-Up Call on Septemer 21 in Malé, the capital of Maldives.

The International Day of Climate Action, coordinated by, will be on October 24. Among the events of that day: 350 grounded motor vehicles and a 350 kilowatt reduction in energy consumption in Malé.

“350” signifies the safe upper limit (in parts per million) for carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. The current level is 389 ppm. Vroomfondel explains the movement’s goals:

By having actions all around the world that day, plans to send a clear message to the world leaders (who will be meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark this December to craft a new global treaty on cutting emissions) that ‘the solutions to climate change must be equitable, they must be grounded in science, and they must meet the scale of the crisis.’

In addition, the Maldives Photographers Association together with the Maldives Science Society is planning to send 350 unique postcards to 350 world leaders and personalities who will be attending the Copenhagen conference (COP15).

350Postcards distributed a compelling YouTube promotional video for the photo campaign:

Zim, a blogger and diving instructor, describes the underwater rally and subsequent underwater cabinet meeting:

One of the key events on the international day of action is the 24 hour Underwater Rally organized by the Divers Association of Maldives (DAM). 350 divers, diving in teams are going to spend 24 hours underwater. The message DAM is giving is that Maldives is sinking and it’s more than just a country being lost to the sea. A unique heritage is gone. An irreplaceable ecosystem is being destroyed…

The President of Maldives along with all the cabinet ministers are going to meet underwater while using scuba. Using hand signals and slates they are going to endorse and sign a message from the people of Maldives to the world leaders meeting at Copenhagen this December for the Conference of Parties (COP 15)…

We are on the edge. With just a couple of steps forward Maldives along with a number of other vulnerable countries will be lost beneath the waves. We ask everybody not to sign our suicide pact.

Climate change NGO Bluepeace explains in a blog why the world should pay attention to “Vulnerable,” a photo exhibition in Maldives:

As one of the lowest-lying countries in the world, Maldives is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The proliferation of images in today’s internet age is such that Maldives is known the world over as a stunning holiday destination. While Maldives has been the subject of many documentaries and news articles regarding climate change, to date no documentary has been produced by Maldivians for an international audience. This is a chance for Maldives to show vulnerability to the world as seen through our eyes.

Lastly, a Maldivian blogger Fenfulhangi asks some key questions about the December conference:

Will the new [Maldividan] President Mohammed Nasheed attend the [Copenhagen] summit with the talks of lack of funding in the government budget?

As one of the major contributors to Climate Change and its adverse effects, will the USA sign onto the new document that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol that USA previously refused to sign onto?

Will there be same or harsher penalties for developing countries that emit large amounts of CO2 or will it be the richer countries who pay?

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