Under the Sea

Maldives Cabinet Meets Underwater

Members of the Maldives’ cabinet held a meeting at the bottom of a lagoon—20 feet underwater—to make a dramatic statement about the risk global warming poses to the island nation. The Maldives sit only seven feet above sea level, and the melting of polar ice caps could make the archipelago slip below the surface of the Indian Ocean within a century. President Mohammed Nasheed, who has a reputation as a colorful voice on climate change, says, ''What we are trying to make people realize is that the Maldives is a frontline state.” Nasheed is a certified diver, but other cabinet members had to take diving lessons weeks before the meeting, and two had to miss out because they were not given permission from their doctors. But the 14 officials who took the dive sat at a long conference table complete with waterproof name placards and signed a document calling on all countries to cut their carbon emissions—all while bubbles floated up from their masks.