/>
X
Innovation

Threatened by climate change, original 'Garden of Eden' could drown in as little as two decades

The Seychelles, a small cluster of islands off the coast of Africa, may be the canary in the coal mine when it comes to rising seas as a result of global climate change. According to new estimates, the nation has as little as two decades before it drowns.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor on

The Seychelles, a small cluster of 115 islands off the eastern coast of Africa once called the "Garden of Eden" by 19th-century British explorer Charles Gordon, may be the canary in the coal mine when it comes to rising seas as a result of global climate change.

Translation: the nation has as little as two decades before it drowns.

Helen Benedict writes in the Washington Post that data in the Seychelles' August report to the United Nations indicates that the nation's airport could be underwater -- along with its ports, offices, shops and hotels, all at sea level -- in as little as 20 years.

That puts immense pressure on world leaders attending the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen this month to accomplish something material.

Benedict writes:

The 85 percent of the population living by the coast could be displaced, and pollution from drowned villages and towns would kill the fish.

So the people of Seychelles and other island nations are awaiting the Copenhagen conference with trepidation. The challenge is clear.

Benedict writes from the perspective of having once been a resident of the Seychelles, but the threats to world civilizations at sea level is readily apparent: the beautiful but sparsely populated (pop. 84,000) Seychelles and other island nations such as the Maldives (pop. 309,000) may be under fire now; but New York (pop. 8.5 million), London (pop. 7.5 million) and Hong Kong (pop. 7 million) are next.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards