Sustainability corner: ‘The Island President’ event encourages global environmental awareness

Johanna Poppel

Evidence of global warming, scarce resources and a growing global population have struck environmentalists with concern.

Daily mundane activities done by people in well-developed nations have a negative impact on those not living the same quality of life. Greenhouse gases emitted by the affluent support a changing global climate that may cause a drought in equatorial countries and lead to famine due to inefficient crop yield.

Some politicians push aside the need for change in today’s world and stay ignorant to the global state of the environment. Mohamed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives, is an exception.

“He was one of the leading figures fighting against global warming in the United Nations,” said James Mitchell, senior environmental studies student.

Mitchell, representing the UMKC Garden Collective, is hosting a screening of “The Island president” on Wednesday April 17.

The screening begins at 5:30 p.m. with free snacks and socializing and the documentary starts at 6 p.m. A nation-wide discussion on the challenges fossil fuels pose to democracy begins at 8 p.m. The screening will be in the Student Union Room 302.

The documentary tells of Nasheed’s first year as president of the Maldives and how he stood up for the survival of his country and its citizens.

The Maldives, an island nation located in the Indian Ocean, 400 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of India, is one of the most low-lying countries in the world. A rise of three feet in sea level due to global warming would submerge the 1,200 islands of the Maldives, making them uninhabitable.

After Nasheed led the country to democracy following the corrupt term of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Nasheed was elected president. He then was confronted with a problem no global leader has ever had to face the survival of his country.

“The Island President” captures the remarkable influence Nasheed had internationally to promote urgent action on climate change.

Guest speakers will speak online to 100 colleges internationally. The discussion is moderated by Eban Goodstien, the director of Bard College’s CEP(Center for Environmental Policy).

Guest speakers include Jon Shenk, director of “The Island President,” Thilmeeza Hussain, former United Nations deputy permanent representative to the Maldives, and May Boeve, executive director and co-founder of

Attendees will be exposed to the struggles of justice in international politics and the strong leadership Nasheed possessed.

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