WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because from great beaches to smart finance, there’s a lot to learn from what’s coming from the islands.
By OZY Editors
Meet the island of Tavolara: Hidden along the eastern coast of Sardinia, this tiny strip of land — just over three miles long and a mile wide — is one of the Mediterranean’s best-kept secrets. Only 14 people live on what looks like a mountain peak jutting from the sea. And while none of the residents are pirates or castaways, some are members of a unique royal family.“We are a real royal family,” King Bertoleoni says. ”Even Queen Victoria of England, when she heard of us, sent a photographer in a boat to take a picture of Tavolara’s royal family for her collection. And I think it must still be somewhere at Buckingham Palace,” he adds by way of proof.
While the threat of climate change still feels distant to many people, that’s not the case for residents of small, low-lying islands in the Pacific. Global warming has arrived, and it’s turned their homelands — the Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati and others — into slowly sinking ships. In some regions, the freshwater has turned salty and farmlands are barren, and officials say rising waters will submerge entire nations by the century’s end unless concerted action is taken. As a result, many of these countries have resorted to extreme measures. They’ve engaged global legal experts to figure out whether a drowned nation still exists, have threatened legal action against coal plants a hemisphere away and have tried to drum up support for a case at the International Court of Justice. Quixotic as these tactics may sound, they risk alienating wealthy countries — the very ones that waterlogged islands will rely on for humanitarian aid to help refugees from droughts and floods.
OZY sat down with rising star economist Peter Henry, who became the dean of NYU’s business school before the age of 40. He offered us some insights on what the U.S. could learn from a surprising model: Barbados, a nation he considers to be the example of fiscal disipline. In 1991, Barbados was on the verge of a financial collapse. Twenty-seven years prior, it had fixed its exchange rate with that of the U.S., and now the U.S. was in recession. So the IMF went to Barbados to get the country to value its currency, warning the government, “It is the only way you are going to survive.” Instead of devaluing its exchange rate, Barbados took another route: It negotiated a wage cut, which incited something controversial, but, in Henry’s eyes, successful.
From Antigua to Long Island, OZY takes a look at the inside scoop on great unspoiled beaches. We know you’re ready for them — happy spring-en-route-to-summer! Have you been on TripAdvisor — and who hasn’t — to get a handle on what exactly your hotel will be like? Then you know it’s wildly unpredictable, and you should tread carefully when you’re weighing whether a particular beach is worth the trip. Often raters give more weight to the hotel, as if the beach is a backyard koi pond. You end up with a skewed assessment of the possible pleasures that await you.
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