First 100 Days: The Island President

Part ten of our film-lover’s guide to taking environmental action in the first 100 days of the new White House administration. This week's suggestion: The Island President.


Imagine fighting a 20-year pro-democracy movement against a brutal dictator; surviving repeated imprisonments and torture; finally coming into power; and then confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced.

The Island President tells the story of Mohamed Nasheed’s first year as President of the Maldives, the world’s lowest lying country, which is threatened with extinction from rising water levels.

The film, by Bay Area filmmaker Jon Shenk, culminates in Nasheed’s trip to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009.

When all hope fades for any kind of written accord to be signed, Nasheed makes a stirring speech which salvages an agreement.

Why is this relevant?

Although Nasheed is no longer President of the Maldives, sea levels are still rising.

Furthermore, the new US administration has threatened to pull out of the Paris Agreement on Climate, the latest international climate accord.

This means that while the Maldives, as well as much of low-lying land around the world, are still at critical risk of being swallowed by the seas, the political will to find solutions are stalling.

The Island President presents a candid look at how a climate summit operates, which can help us to understand some of the political challenges of similar international conferences and agreements.

How to watch the film?

The Island President is available for rent or purchase through iTunes, starting at $.99.


Looking for more film suggestions? Check out the rest of our First 100 Days: Green Film Guide.