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September 29th, 2016

Max’s View

The Island President
***1/2
The Climate Change debate in America is terribly polarized.

The left dogmatically believes that Climate Change is 100% bad. That position doesn’t make any sense to me. In life, unexpected change is good a lot of the time. And global warming is clearly good for some people – people who own property in Siberia and Greenland, for example.

The right, meanwhile, counters with the equally ridiculous argument that Climate Change isn’t real. The progressively receding ice caps and glaciers pretty much prove that the earth is warming. And though it’s clear to me that global warming is good for some regions (like Central Vermont), it’s certainly going to be terrible for others.

The Maldives, for example.

“The Island President” is an entertaining and beautifully shot documentary about a truly heroic leader: former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed.

The Maldives is a tiny island nation that sits alone in the middle of the vast Indian Ocean. The 350,000 inhabitants are ethnically Indian but they have been separated culturally from their brothers on the Continent for thousands of years and have developed their own distinctive Maldivian culture and language.

For 30 years, The Maldives was tormented by a thuggish dictator who routinely imprisoned, tortured, and killed dissidents. Finally, Mohamed Nasheed – a brave young democrat – forced the dictator to hold free elections and became the legitimate President of The Maldives.

Now, having saved his country from tyranny, President Nasheed tried to save The Maldives from environmental disaster.

I firmly predict that the main effect of a 3 degree temperature increase on Vermont will be less horrible winters. The effect on Maldives will be total and permanent annihilation as rising ocean levels engulf the low-lying archipelago.

In the film’s gripping climax, President Nasheed travels to far-flung Copenhagen to attend the International Climate Change Conference in December, 2009.

There is something hopeless and absurd about trying to get people to take the problem of global warming seriously in the middle of a frigid Scandinavian winter. It’s like spearheading a campaign to criminalize cosmetic plastic surgery and starting at the Kardashian house.

Nevertheless, our underdog hero does everything he can to keep the US, China, and India at the negotiating table. Ultimately, the big polluting countries did agree on a carbon reduction agreement. But, according to scientific models, it won’t halt global warming quickly enough to save The Maldives from oblivion.

As you can tell, I don’t consider global warming a big problem. That’s simply because I don’t like bundling up in heavy jackets to go to work each morning. And to the best of my recollection, I’ve never used the phrase “it’s too hot” – except when referring to a mug of freshly brewed tea.

However, I hope that I can reach an understanding with my environmentalist readers. Let’s meet in the middle: I’ll admit that global warming is bad for The Maldives if you admit that global warming is good for the couple who just built their dream house in Greenland.

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