Here is guest post from our friend, Zaheena Rasheed, reporting an the exciting new commitment from her home, Maldives…

An otherwise normal Saturday at Middlebury College was made incredibly exciting for me by the news that Maldives, my native country, is planning to go carbon neutral by 2020.

The bold scheme, unveiled Saturday by Maldives’ first democratically elected President Mohamed Nasheed on Saturday, plans to establish 155 wind turbines, half a square kilometer of rooftop solar panels and a biomass plant burning coconut husks to provide clean energy for its population of 385,000.

According to the Guardian newspaper, battery banks will be established to provide back-up for times of emergency, while the entire local economy is to be de-carbonized to the extent that diesel engines in cars and boats are to be gradually replaced by electric versions.

Maldives is one of the world’s most low-lying countries and among the most vulnerable to climate change with most of its 1200 islands barely two meters above sea-level.

I have personally witnessed the devastating effects of what could happen with rise in sea level. On Maduvvari Island, fishermen are in danger of losing livelihoods and property with their several houses having collapsed into the sea due to coastal erosion. With the loss in land, an entire nation and a way of life will disappear if global leaders do not take urgent action.

As President Nasheed says: “Climate change is a global emergency. The world is in danger of going into cardiac arrest, yet we behave as if we’ve caught a common cold.”

The Maldives hopes to provide an eco-blueprint for other more developed nations to follow suit. We are sinking and we are in need of solutions!

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