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Posts tagged maldives.
Sharks in the Maldives, by Karl Roberton via Flickr
Trouble in paradise. The Maldives islands are among the most beautiful places on earth. The islands are considered by some to be ground zero for the impacts of sea level rise, and the country’s president has been a strong advocate for climate adaptation measures.
However, the islands have a dirty secret - it’s been dumping its trash and toxic chemicals into the ocean. The BBC cracks the case wide open in this sickening video report, “Apocalyptic island of waste in the Maldives.”
In 2010, Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed held the world’s first presidential cabinet meeting underwater to demonstrate the danger of sea level rise to his island nation. Nasheed was instrumental in bringing adapting to climate change into mainstream conversation. He resigned today under political pressure.
I saw his impassioned speech at the COP15 negotiations.
Eco-friendly Maldives president resigns: Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically-elected president of the Maldives, long held a reputation as being an environmentally-focused activist and organizer who used those skills to become president in 2008, replacing Maumoon Abdul Gayoom Gayoom, who led the country for three decades. But in recent weeks, Nasheed’s power was shaken over allegations he forced out a judge who supported the opposition. On Tuesday, he resigned amid protests. ”It will be better for the country in the current situation if I resign,” Nasheed said in a news conference. “I don’t want to run the country with an iron fist.” (Photo: In an attempt to highlight global war Nasheed holds the word’s first underwater cabinet meeting in 2009. EPA photo)
How does this relate to climate change? Migration. Specifically, climate refugees, people forced to move from their homes when environmental crises prevents them from adapting. Immigration lawyers around the world are trying to find solutions for the potential massive influxes of millions of people who need to move quickly. The US is the number one obvious choice, but getting here is not easy. Once they’re in, here are the immediate benefits:
Every year some 700,000 people become U.S. citizens at naturalization ceremonies across the country.
By taking the Oath of Allegiance new citizens pledge to be faithful to the Constitution and to serve their new country when needed. In exchange they will enjoy many of the benefits and privileges of being a United States citizen, including the following:
Bringing Family Members
U.S. citizens can help overseas family members legally immigrate to the United States. In fact, the relatives of citizens are generally given priority by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Also, children under age 18 are automatically given U.S. citizenship when their parents become citizens.
Right to Vote
Direct participation in democratic elections is one of the most important privileges that this country offers its citizens. Only U.S. citizens have the right to vote in federal elections and to be candidates in most local, state and federal elections.
The United States protects its citizens abroad through its embassies and consulates. The U.S. government assists citizens who are victims of crime overseas and provides assistance to U.S. citizens abroad in the case of international disasters or emergencies.
Access to More Jobs
The federal government is one of the biggest employers in the world and offers many job opportunities in a wide range of industries. Job openings are published on USA Jobs.gov. However, the majority of federal jobs require that the applicant be a U.S. citizen.
Participating in a Federal Jury
One of the most important civic responsibilities of citizenship is participating in a federal jury. Members of the jury help determine the innocence or guilt of the accused. Federal jurors are selected at random from databases such as voting and driver license lists.
More Student Aid
The federal government has different types of financial assistance for students, including scholarships and grants that are open exclusively to U.S. citizens.
Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of becoming a US citizen.
An interesting legal question bubbles up to the mainstream press: What is the legal status of a country, and its citizens, if it sinks under water? We discussed this at Vermont Law and the COP15. And, since I’m into land use, I think about property rights much too much. The Economist puts it plain,
So the legal implications of sinking islands are preoccupying environmental lawyers. Can there be such a thing as a submarine state? According to one definition, a state needs a clear territory, a permanent population and the ability to deal with other states. From a league or so under the sea, that sounds hard.
A submarine state is interesting to think about, too. No state or country can own the ocean floor (well, technically they can’t beyond 200 miles oceanward from the coastline, but that doesn’t really apply here). A submarine would be landless but not borderless. Whether that submarine state (or eg floating island) can be classified as a defensible “territory” is a mystery. Intriguing, yes? Clicky click the link
Hop, hop, hop, plop. What’s to be done about sinking states? As sea levels rise, lawyers ask how submerged islands can keep hold of their statehood.
Easy now. The other side of this story is the Maldives is an obnoxious haven for the wealthy. For example, see the capital, here.
The Disappearing Country: With 80% of the country less than one metre above sea level, the residents of the Maldives’ 1,200 tropical islands have long been aware of their vulnerability to rising sea levels. In 2008, it was announced that the government would start diverting a percentage of the nation’s income from tourism into a fund to buy a new homeland. The deep irony that the island nation’s economy relies heavily on tourists arriving in polluting aircraft has not been lost on the islanders. (Sakis Papadopoulos)