Climate change is an unfair enemy to the human psyche. It’s not overt in action and never attacks in broad catastrophic action, instead, to use the metaphor of a boiled frog, it cooks us slowly while barely notice a change. Residents of the Maldives cherish the beauty of their island home, less than two meters above sea level they face the very real fear of losing their home. Yet largely, apathy is the response one receives when probing about climate changes effects on the Maldives. To quote one resident, "If I woke up one day and the islands were going underwater, I'd just move," to look catastrophe in the eye and merely respond with a sigh represents pathologies in our relation to the environment.
Elections in the Maldives before the 2013 election involved heavy use of climate policy as a board for politicians to stand on. During the current election, even on the precipice of catastrophe, climate change is notably absent from debates and discussions in favor of more short term policies. Climate change even now has the potential to destroy the 2nd most profitable industry in the Maldives, tuna fishing. Scientists postulate that tuna populations will migrate to cooler waters away from areas current Maldivians fish for their tuna supply
To the individual resident of the Maldives the effects of submersion are abundantly obvious but at a world-wide level less so. Upon the submersion of the Maldives 340,000 climate refugees will be displaced and forced to find a new home inundating many nations of the world with refugees they may not be able to handle.
The current political and economic paradigm largely relies on short term benefits in favor of long term losses. Every five years or so the IPCC releases a report on the current state of climate change and the amount of damage done over the years this, for a little while, informs us of the dire straits we are in as a species but soon afterwards we shift back into a “business as usual” mindset. I just wonder if our response will be too late for the Maldives.