The Maldives President and his CabinetOct. 17, 1998: An explosion at a poorly maintained oil pipeline in Jesse, Nigeria, kills more than 1,000 people.

Oct. 17, 2008: Over the objections of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the U.S. Interior Department declares the beluga whale population in Alaska’s Cook Inlet an endangered species. Cook Inlet is the ocean arm along the southern Alaska coast that reaches to Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city.

Oct. 17, 2009: Okay, name your cliché: An entire government cabinet is all wet. Or goes under. Or takes a dive. All are true, but for a very serious reason as the Maldives president and his cabinet meet for half an hour beneath the waves (at right) to illustrate how the Indian Ocean island nation could be swamped by climate change and sea level rise. Three years later, President Mohamed Nasheed is ousted in a peaceful coup.

Photo: ZUMA Press

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.