Small Islands and Climate Change: World Environment Day 2014

June 5th marks this year’s World Environment Day (WED). It is sponsored by the United Nations to encourage awareness on current environmental issues and how we can help abate them. This year the theme is ‘Small islands and Climate Change’ and is hosted by Barbados.

Increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have brought about the rise of sea levels. As CO2 emissions warm the planet, glaciers melt and as a result, low-lying lands begin to submerge underwater. Small islands and coastal areas are most threatened by this, making them vulnerable to severe consequences. Hence, this year’s WED theme. Some islands and coasts have been implementing a wide array of environment friendly solutions to prevent future calamities. Local residents in Lami town, Fiji are restoring mangroves and coral reefs and while the UN has initiated ecosystems-based adaptation measures to prevent flooding and coastal erosion. Meanwhile, Barbados is focusing on gradually switching its dependence from fossil fuels to renewable energy technology.

Around the world, WED is being celebrated in many different ways – horticultural activities, educational activities, marathons, social media awareness, recycling drives, contests, and more. Policies and programs by governments of several countries are being created this year to combat climate change and lead us to a cleaner and greener future.

Here are some pledges you could take to promote good environmental practices: Carpool, use public transportation, walk, plant a tree, use energy efficient appliances, recycle paper and other products, organize nature walks and environmental activities in your neighborhood, switch to CFLs, say no to plastic, use reusable shopping bags, and organize a cleaning drive. Make these a habit and remember that each individual’s contribution counts!

Don’t forget to check out WED’s vlogging competition’s winning video on the theme ‘Raise your voice, not the sea level’; it sends out an uplifting message for everyone. You can also check out our winning World of 7 Billion videos that link climate change to population growth.

“Planet Earth is our shared island, let us join forces to protect it”
–Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General