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The Island President: one man’s fight for survival against the odds



Alex Blackburne reviews The Island President, a documentary film about a country on the brink of extinction because of climate change and one man’s arduous fight to save it.

In 2008, the Maldives voted in its first new president for 30 years. The new man in charge of the island nation was Mohamed Nasheed, leader and founder of the Maldivian Democratic Party, and subject of Jon Shenk’s documentary film, The Island President.

A former prisoner of conscience and democracy activist, Nasheed’s rise to president signalled the end of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s 30-year dictatorship in the country.

The film follows his gruelling but inspiring personal crusade to save the Maldives from the perils of climate change.

Away from its image as a holiday destination for the rich and famous, the Maldives, located 250 miles south-west of India, is falling prey to rising sea levels caused by an anthropogenic global increase in temperature. The coastlines of its 1,200 islands are eroding rapidly, and so Nasheed’s primary aim as president is to secure a future for his country.

If you can’t save the Maldives today”, Nasheed says in the film, “you can’t save England tomorrow.”

Shot beautifully, the film offers a refreshing but harrowing perspective on the climate debate.

The ill-informed opinions of notable climate change sceptic commentators like James Delingpole and Anthony Watts suddenly pale into insignificance, as do the numerous attempts to expose scepticism.

Here we are, squabbling from our comfortable offices over whether or not the temperature is indeed rising across the globe; and all the while, the Maldives, along with countless similar small island nations, are teetering on the brink of existence because of it.

If there was any one piece of real, on-the-ground proof to support the already overwhelming weight of evidence for climate change, it’s the case studies of these countries that are fighting losing battles and can’t do a thing about it.

But still, Nasheed fights on. “We continue to shout even though we know that you’re not really listening”, he says to a group of UN delegates at one point.

In The Island President, ‘The Mandela of the Maldives’, as Nasheed’s sometimes called, is seen attending and speaking at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. His mission is to get each UN member state to agree to a definitive carbon reduction commitment – specifically, to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to below 350 parts per million – the level at which the Maldives can ensure survival.

Nasheed took it upon himself to make the Maldives the world’s first carbon neutral country in a decade through the development of renewable energy in the country, but he’s remarkably frank about the insignificance of this action.

At least we can die knowing that we’ve done the right thing”, he says, after the Copenhagen talks failed to reach a concrete agreement.

Ultimately, and as Blue & Green Tomorrow has relayed in the past, it’s down to the world’s largest emitters – China, the US, India, Russia and so on – to really make a difference.

The climate debate has the potential to divide opinions and there will be some people who simply will never be convinced. I urge everyone to watch The Island President to see first-hand a fine example of human spirit and survival, set against the beautiful background of the Maldives.

Nasheed controversially resigned as president in February this year but remains wholly committed to saving his country, its people, its traditions and its identity from a threat that the world’s difference-makers could go a long way to alleviating in no time at all.

The Island President is out on DVD on August 20 this year.

Further reading:

Swimming against the tide: the Pacific nations fighting a losing battle with climate change

Rising sea levels force Pacific Islanders to relocate

Developing world at ‘extreme risk’ of climate change


What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?




shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy



Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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