Maldives president: People, not politicians, can save the planet


This article is reprinted from the Klimaforum website.

The president of the Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives Islands, Mohamed Nasheed, stressed the power of people to take action on climate change, when he spoke to a packed audience at Klimaforum09, the alternative climate summit in Copenhagen, on December 13.

"The social movements have the power to save the planet from the effects of climate change", Nasheed said. "My message to you is to continue the process of movement building after the conference."

Nasheed used his own personal story to illustrate the point. A few years ago, he was in prison because of his work as a human rights activists, but upon his release he became the first democratic elected president of the island nation acutely threatened by the rising sea levels.

"We had no power, but our cause", the president explained, before he went on to promise to turn his country into the first CO2 neutral society in the world in just ten years time.

"Let us make the goal of reaching 350 parts per million. We believe that if the Maldives can become carbon neutral so can larger countries."