In the middle of the Pacific ocean lies Nauru.
This tiny island country has a population of merely 12,000 people and has only one source of income; they operate a controversial detention center for Australia, referred to as “Australia’s Guantanamo Bay”.
Nauru was once a source of great wealth, but bad choices caused it to crash.
Phosphate, used as a fertilizer and a key component in explosives, had been discovered on Nauru in the early 1900s.
After World War I, it was under British, Australian, and New Zealand control. The three countries created the British Phosphate Commission to oversee the phosphate mining. After World War II, it went under Australian control, and became independent in 1968.
Thanks to all the phosphate mining, Nauruans were quite wealthy, but it couldn’t last forever. They began to throw it around in unwise investments, including a skyscraper in Melbourne, foreign hotels, and short-lived phosphate factories in the Phillipines and India.
The biggest drain of all was an airline, Air Nauru. Their planes often flew half-empty, causing enormous loss.
When the phosphate ran out and the environmental effects set in, there was nothing left to provide a source of income.
By 2000, Nauru crashed. There was no more phosphate, and bad investments caught up. The country was practically bankrupt.
Nauruans suffer from an obesity rate of 71%, and 94.5% of the populations is at least overweight. The mining has destroyed three-quarters of the country into an inhospitable wasteland.
The country’s indigenous culture has also been just about destroyed by years of Western lifestyle.
Furthermore, Nauru’s government actually relies on Australians and New Zealanders to keep it running, especially in the law. Yep, that’s how much the country has declined —they need foreigners to help with governmental functions.
Today, Nauru is threatened by rising sea levels, and only one-fourth of them could possibly afford a ticket to escape.
For this island, they can only go up or down —down below the sea.