When it comes to climate change, we are all Maldivians!

It was Woody Allen who said ‘Ninety per cent of life is just showing up’. Well, part of the remaining 10 per cent must involve waving our hands and speaking out in this increasingly attention-challenged world.

My organisation, TVE Asia Pacific, lacks both a travel budget and a promotional budget. So I need to be both resourceful and persevering when showcasing our work in the vast Asia Pacific region and beyond. I attempt this by turning myself into a one-man cheering squad for our work in the public interest. (If this makes me something of a self-promoter, so be it!).

I was very grateful when our friends in Greenaccord accommodated my last minute request to screen our latest short film Small Islands – Big Impact at their 7th international media forum in Viterbo, Italy, today. This is what I recently made in the Maldives, one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to sea level rise.

I presented this at the end of the fourth day, soon after the gathering of 130 journalists and scientists from 55 countries had listened to 10 Climate Witnesses who travelled from far corners of the world to share their stories of ground level changes induced by climate change.

Here is what I said introducing the film:

Small and low lying island states are on the frontline of impact from climate change. That is why we made this film, so that we can highlight the plight of the Maldives in various climate related discussions around the world.

It is based on an exclusive interview that President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives gave me in August 2009. In this wide-ranging interview, he shared his concerns and visions for his island nation.

President Nasheed is an articulate, passionate climate witness on behalf of his endangered island nation of 325,000 people. The technocratic and amiable President is one of the youngest heads of state in the world today. Interestingly, he worked as a freelance journalist when he was in exile for several years, and remains very accessible to the international media.

As a journalist and broadcaster, I’ve been covering this story for over 20 years, from the late 1980s. I have seen how the vulnerability of small island states – like the Maldives – has risen up in the international discussions on climate. Sustained reporting by journalists has played a significant role in this process.

We have unfinished business. As President Nasheed says so emphatically, we are in this together. We need to work on coping and survival strategies.

When it comes to climate change, we are all Maldivians.

This is the second time a TVEAP film has been showcased at a Greenaccord event. In October 2006, the post-tsunami Asian environmental series The Greenbelt Reports was previewed at the 4th Greenaccord Forum.

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3 Responses to “When it comes to climate change, we are all Maldivians!”

  1. Ayesha Says:

    “When it comes to climate change, we are all Maldivians.”
    Yes and No. Yes we are in the same sinking boat. But the Maldivians have talked about relocating themselves to another land. Do we have another planet to movbe to?

  2. Nalaka Gunawardene Says:

    Ayesha,
    You said it very well. There is no other known planet that is hospitable to human life, and this battered Earth is the only planet we have. If we screw up, as we seem to excel in doing, we have nowhere to run or escape to. How much more stark can choices become, before humanity acts decisively?

  3. Rikke, from Denmark Says:

    I have been following the COP15 just finished here in Denmark. Yes, the best comment was “we are all Maldivians”, it was offcause president Nashed who said it. And he is so right! But no one in the COP15 really cared about saving our beautiful planet, all they talked about was money, none of them had the will to do something drastic. Where there is wil, there is a way. I am not really proud of the human race after this COP15.
    The populations in the countries have to take action if the so called people with the power can´t come to any conclutions.


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