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The pledge to make Maldives holidays carbon neutral

  • 10-Oct-11 17:14
  • Maldives
  • People & The Planet

As part of the Six Senses SLOWLIFE Symposium being held in the Soneva Fushi resort during the next few days, President Mohamed Nasheed has promised greener Maldives holidays for everyone by taking steps to become the world's first carbon neutral country.

The pledge to make Maldives holidays carbon neutral

Since last year, the Maldives have made significant progress towards their plan of becoming the first carbon neutral country in the world, and during the recent Six Senses SLOWLIFE Symposium currently taking place at the Six Senses Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives, the government has given full backing to achieve this amazing milestone.

Currently on day three of the Six Senses SLOWLIFE SYMPOSIUM meetings, Maldives' president, Mohamed Nasheed made a pledge to take all steps necessary to make the Maldives the greenest of countries and achieve a carbon neutral status.

Present at the meeting, Virgin owner and legendary business tycoon Richard Branson joined a list of other famous celebrities including actress Daryl Hannah, actor and active environmentalist Edward Norton, journalists, government ministers and various representatives from the global tourism industry.

Speaking to such a varied audience of dignitaries, artists and entrepreneurs, Mr Nasheed outlined several areas in which the Maldives government had made important progress over the last year, including:

  • Publishing the new carbon neutral electricity plan online and inviting ‘crowd-sourcing’ comments from experts worldwide
  • Committing to a new target to generate 60% of electricity via solar power by 2020, and reducing electricity emissions by 80% without putting up the cost of power to consumers
  • The signing of the first contract under the new ‘feed-in-tariff’ between the state electricity company and a Male hotel chain to supply solar power onto the grid
  • A new import regime by the Transport Ministry to ensure that in future electric cars will be a third of the price of conventional petrol cars
  • New policies to encourage the uptake of renewable energy and marine transport
  • The pledge to spend 2% of national income on renewable energy deployment in the country

Image by: thetravelguru, on Flickr

All these important steps are being taken to ensure the sustainability of Maldives holidays today and in the future. Calling for "new thinking", the president alerted all those present by saying: "If we don’t have alternative fuels we are going to have the mother of all recessions. The way to kick-start the revolution is to have no tax on all clean energy while slowly increasing tax on dirty energy.”

Sir Branson took the opportunity to also call on all European aviation authorities and airports to do more to reduce the aviation industry’s energy emissions and said that the climate change battle is the “biggest entrepreneurial opportunity of our lifetime”.

"Every single ecosystem is in decline. We must revalue how we value our natural assets and how we reduce our consumption patterns. But it is important for all of us to stay positive. Martin Luther King did not get his message across by saying 'I have a nightmare'." he said.

Greener Maldives holidays are already a reality as the government works hard to implement the new rules, but the President put emphasis on not letting the Maldives be an isolated example, saying that cutting carbon emissions did not mean staying in poverty. "Rich countries are led by the world’s biggest debtor, the United States. Poor countries are led by the biggest investor, the People’s Republic of China. Are they poor or are they rich?”

Throughout the three days of the symposium there has been a lot of narrative about empowering ordinary people around the globe to take part in the climate change problem by engaging as much as possible with the solutions we have at hand to reduce carbon footprints. An initiative that can be adopted at many Maldives hotels with the implementation of greener measures to reduce waste and use resources responsibly.

Throughout the following days, the SLOWLIFE Symposium with the theme "Progressive Solutions for Future Tourism" will continue to discuss the future of tourism, the carbon footprint for holidays to the Maldives and how the travel industry can be made more sustainable in a carbon-constrained world. Chief Executive and Founder of the prestigious brand of Six Senses Resorts and Spa, Sonu Shivdasani, whose hotel company is deeply committed to the environment and currently hosting the SLOWLIFE Symposium, said: “At Soneva Fushi, we are committed to decarbonise by 2013. We are determined to provide the roadmap for others travel and tourism companies to follow – both here in the Maldives and worldwide.”

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