The Republic of Maldives has a lot to fear from rising sea levels, but the chain of tiny islands in the Indian Ocean is doing something to protect itself. The nation has built a concrete wall around the capital, Male, and constructed an entirely new island 7 feet higher than the rest of the country—which the president wants carbon-emitting nations to pay for. NPR pays a visit.
Most of the Maldives is so close to sea level that the entire country was briefly submerged during the 2004 tsunami, so waiting around for the effects of the Kyoto Protocol to kick in isn't an option. "We have to survive," says a researcher. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's strategies appear to be working: Thousands are moving to the new artificial island of Hulhumale.