By Lorenzo Katz
Why do bullies get away and the victims suffer?
Marisela is a 17 year-old girl in 11th grade. She is shy and keeps to herself for the most part. Despite being an exemplary student, she became the subject of bullying. From grade one to grade five she suffered from relentless abuse, leaving scars that lasted a lifetime.
Curtis is a 15 year-old boy in 9th grade. He was bullied for the way he looked, spoke, and acted. His family moved every 3 years, making it difficult for him to make friends. At every school he transfered into, his peers would tease him despite him trying to be friendly and avoid bullies.
Will is a 14 year-old boy in 8th grade. Due to his slight autism, he became an easy target for bullies. His bullies steal his lunch, call him names, and spread rumors about him. He has been bullied for 7 years now.
In all of three of these cases, their family helped to end bullying.
This is the reality for the Maldives, subject to environmental bullying from the biggest, baddest bullies in the world. Bullies that amount to over half of humankind’s carbon dioxide emissions: China, the United States, and the European Union. These emissions lead to global warming and rising sea levels, directly affecting the Maldives.
The highest point in the Maldivian Archipelago is 2.4 meters above sea level. This puts them at great risk of suffering the consequences of the perpetrators of our world’s environmental destruction. They are some of the world’s leaders in politics and economics. For this reason, they believe they have the right to destroy an entire culture and society without any consequences.
The country is not sinking — it is drowning.
Furthermore, Maldives is a carbon neutral country, meaning they have close to no addition to the world’s CO2 emissions. So why are they the ones with the greatest consequences?
China, the European Union, and the United states cumulatively produced 19,283,796 kilotons of CO2 emissions in 2015. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, in 2100 the sea level rise in the Maldives is predicted to increase by 50 centimeters, 77% of the Maldives will be erased from the map.
Our world’s environmental bullies are not just obliterating land from the Maldives, they are also shattering their economy. Tourism amounts to about one third of the Maldives’ GDP thanks to their gorgeous ecosystem. Their vibrant coral reefs are home to over 2,000 species of fish which lure expert scuba divers and hypnotize recreational snorkelers.
Yet the rise in the sea’s temperature causes these unique reefs to die.
Bleached coral tainted the once beautiful reefs. The inevitable effect of this massacre is the decrease to this country’s already miniscule GDP. It comes to no surprise that the United States, China, and the European Union are barely affected by the effects of the bleaching coral, proven by their high world GDP rankings.
The Maldives is stranded, backed up against the wall with fists flying full force towards their face. The bullying for Marisela, Curtis, and Will was put to a stop as a result of intervention by close family members. If we do not stand up for our family, who will?
International policies restricting CO2 emissions can be enacted which can help reduce the amount of pollution in our atmosphere. We can push towards green energy and limit the amount of coal burning factories and gas cars. We can change the bullies into protectors. Nobody has to be a bully — nobody has to be bullied.
- “Carbon Neutrality.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Feb. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_neutrality.
- Evans, Andrew. “Climbing the Highest Point in the Maldives.” National Geographic, 5 Nov. 2013, digitalnomad.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/05/climbing-the-highest-point-in-the-maldives/.
- “Letter from Maldives – Not sinking but drowning.” The Economist, 13 May 2000, p. 87. Global Issues In Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A63923622/GPS?u=60iskl&sid=GPS&xid=58d4daa0. Accessed 1 Mar. 2018.
- “Republic of Maldives.” Union of Concerned Scientists, http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-locations/republic-of-maldives.html.