The newly elected president of the Maldives wants to build a contingency fund to buy land elsewhere so that the island country can literally move to higher ground to escape rising sea levels. But what of the rest of the island’s biodiversity? According to Jo Mulongoy, chief scientist for the Convention on Biological Diversity’s secretariat in Montreal, the island ecosystems will never be reconstructed if they’re swamped – powerful motivation for capping greenhouse gas emissions and blunting climate change.
Overall, however, Mulongoy is more hopeful. Partly because governments are moving to act on biodiversity (says the scientific diplomat). But also because the power of information technology is informing smarter decision making and thus making it easier to do the right thing and preserve biodiversity (at least on higher ground).
The Congolese microbiologist needs to look no further than his homeland, where satellite imagery is helping the government protect its equatorial forests from over-harvesting by refugees displaced by years of civil war.
For more, in his own words, see my Q&A with Mulongoy that posted to Earthzine on Friday.