Submitted by admin on Thu, 06/04/2015 - 03:37
June 4, 2015 by admin
General News
Mr. David Sheppard, Director-General, SPREP
World Environment Day, 5 June 2015 - Do more and better with less – that's at the core of our thoughts this World Environment Day as our Pacific island community is part and parcel of the Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care. theme for World Environment Day on 5 June.

As the world changes with modern technology and the internet, our values are changing too. Whereas humans inhabited the earth living sustainably many years ago, we in this present age are now consuming more natural resources that our planet can sustainably provide.

We only have one planet, we must "consume with care" to achieve a sustainable future. Adopting better lifestyles so we do more and better with less is what we need to try, instead of finding ways around it – like finding new planets to live on or geoengineering to fix problems in a way that allows us to continue consumption in a business as usual scenario.

The statistics as found on the World Environment Day website are alarming – less than 3% of the world's water is fresh and drinkable, of which 2.5% is frozen in the Antarctica, Arctic and glaciers, and with over 1 billion people without access to fresh water.

There is also a crisis of loss of species: the 2012 IUCN Red noted that around 30% of species assessed globally are threatened with extinction.

Households consume 29% of global energy and consequently contribute to 21% of resultant CO2 emissions noting that we in the Pacific islands region contribute to less than 0.03% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions but are on the frontlines of climate change impacts.

We are running out of resources necessary for survival of humanity and we need to fix this.

WED2015b We Pledge To:  Support our Pacific community so that our Pacific environment sustains our
livelihoods in natural heritage in harmony with our cultures #wed2015

It's easy to sit back and tell others what to do, however there is a need to take action in your "own back yard". At the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), our organisational values and code of conduct are clear – we must show and demonstrate environmental leadership and this is at the core our SPREP family.

Our SPREP Youth Ambassador, Ms. Brianna Fruean promotes that people start small with what they can do as all the small achievements lead to something great. This is how we started at SPREP – introducing a recyclable waste area for our staff which is now working well.

We have also cut back on staff travel through the introduction of video conferencing, to reduce our carbon footprint, and this year we will install solar panels for our SPREP Campus in Apia to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, show support for the Renewable Energy sector in the Pacific and help to increase awareness of renewable energy options and energy efficient practices.

For those of you that have attended our meetings or conferences, you may have noticed that we now aim for Green meetings – this means less paper, less waste, no Styrofoam and reusing water bottles to name a few actions. While there was some resistance from participants in the beginning who wanted hard copies of documents and printed materials – we now find that this is becoming an accepted way of SPREP events.
This brings us to our SPREP publications where our preference is towards environmentally friendly ink and paper use wherever possible. We believe every small action possible can help.

At SPREP we are currently planning for the Pacific Climate Change Centre which will be the major centre in the region for coordination of climate change efforts, with the generous support of the government of Japan. Our aim is that this will be the "greenest" building in the Pacific, with low energy consumption, anaerobic treatment of sewage, photovoltaic panels and green roof thermal insulation. We aim for this centre to be a showpiece for leadership in energy and environmental design.

We hope everyone in our Pacific community step up to make pledges this World Environment Day. Our environment is at the heart of our Pacific way of life, our survival is dependent upon the resources she brings us.

Let's pledge together to save our one planet and consume with care.