Climate change has caused a lot of chaos in recent years, from maple syrup and coffee shortages to vegetarian grizzly bears to changes in Britain’s beloved fish and chips as well as its standing in the wine-making industry.
Most horrifyingly, climate change has also done much to damage the homes of millions, in some cases making them disappear entirely. Thanks to rising sea levels, entire islands have disappeared into the ocean. So far, most of them have been uninhabited, but those few that weren’t resulted in evacuations and heartbreak.
Many beautiful islands are currently at risk of being destroyed by climate change. One of them is the strikingly beautiful South Asian country of Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka. Undiscovered as a tourist destination until the 1970s, its tourism industry has rapidly grown since then, with the number of resorts going from two to 92 between 1972 and 2007. Every year over a million people visit the island nation, known for its natural beauty: a crystal clear blue ocean, clean air, and sandy white beaches. It’s among the best places in the world to go recreational diving, and has been reported to be the most wished-for honeymoon destination.
Made up of 26 atolls, it has the lowest elevation of any country in the world, with an average natural ground level of about 4 feet and 11 inches above sea level. Over 80 percent of the country is made up of coral islands that measure less than one meter above sea level, thus putting the nation at extreme risk of submersion.
According to the environmental panel of the United Nations, if the sea level continues to rise at its current rate, the Maldives could be uninhabitable by the year 2100. If sea levels rise even faster, that day could come sooner. In an effort to combat this, the government has put in place a plan that will eliminate or offset all of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. However, climate change is a global issue, and sea levels also depend on the participation of other countries in climate change initiatives. Crops all over the world are at risk of being affected (whereas a few others may benefit). If you want to know more about the affects of climate change on different regions, read about what it means for apples, tomatoes, and 15 other foods.