When’s Bangladesh going to disappear?

The country’s the size of Iowa, but has half the population of the entire United States. Oh, and by the way, it could possibly be wiped out in the next century.

Here’s the thing: Bangladesh happens to be situated at sea level in a region of the world where flooding and monsoons are already a problem. As it stands, each year roughly half the country is under water at one point or another. But because of possible rising sea levels in the next 20 years (even a 20-centimeter rise) could devastate 10-million Bangladeshis.

We’ve heard of small island nations like Tuvalu (most famous for their Internet TLD: .TV) that are doomed to extinction if global warming pans out. But if the same thing happens to Bangladesh, that’s going to be more than a humanitarian disaster. They have a growing Islamic fundamentalist movement and a very weak government, which means the threat of less and less land (and more and more water) will undoubtedly destabilize the region.

As with many recent postings (a la Mt. Kilimanjaro), all this is to say visit Bangladesh soon, lest it be under water by the time you get around to it. Here’s a great analysis piece about Bangladesh and global warming in this month’s Atlantic.