At this time, last month, I was on my honeymoon in the Maldives.
After the 12-hour flight from New York to Dubai, a 6-hour layover, a 4-hour flight to Malé and a 45-minute sea plane flight to get there (all with a terrible cold), it was definitely worth it—this is a special place.
In a preserved environment, pristine waters and opulent vegetation, lies the exceptional Cheval Blanc Randheli resort. The resort is super chic and every detail is beyond perfection. But, what I love most about traveling is seeing different cultures.
Traditionally, the island communities were very close-knit. This togetherness is still prevailing in the small island societies. You can feel the warmth and genuine happiness of the Maldivian people. The Maldives has one of the most unique underwater sceneries on Earth. Gardens of coral reefs resemble a work of art that has mesmerized scuba divers from around the world. But you need not be an experienced scuba diver, our villa was equipped with a snorkeling mask to dive into the most perfectly designed aquarium, right off our villa deck. Palm trees line the powdery white shoreline that is continuously kissed by the turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The temperature was hot enough to live in only a bikini. Which you'd want to be in at all times, so you can conveniently take a dip or a long swim in the warm cool-aid blue ocean. If it sounds like paradise, that's a good start.
But could there be trouble in paradise? The fragility of the Maldives environment is a topic many travelers do not think about. The tiny nation made up of more than a thousand islands sits a mere meter above water. The sea, for the inhabitants, is the source of livelihood: their food, their economy, and their leisure. But rising sea levels and coastal erosion wrought by climate change threaten not only their way of life, but also the islands' very existence. The Maldives Foreign Minister, Dunya Maumoon, says her government is committed to reducing carbon emissions and fostering sustainability through a series of measures that will be implemented over the next few years.
Being a social activist means we see environmental problems as one we are all responsible for, and treat this issue as something that affects all our lives, because it does. Here are just a few of the ways you can help to reduce our carbon footprint...
1. Get involved! Contact your political representatives and the media to tell them you want immediate action on climate change. Remind them that this will also build healthier communities, spur economic innovation and create new jobs. The next time you're at the polls, vote for politicians who support effective climate policies.
2. Eat wisely! Buy organic and locally grown foods and avoid processed items. Maybe even grow some of your own food! My favorite piece of food advice is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." - Michael Pollan
3. Get informed! The best way to affect change in the world is to be educated about the issues you care about. The world needs more passionate people who are knowledgeable and actionable.
Connect with us, if you want to be a part of the solution to climate change.
Meaghan Jarensky Barakett