OPINION: A sustainable future

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama highlighted Fiji’s commitment to global peace and sustainable management of natural resources in his remarks at the High Level Meeting to commemorate the UN’s 75th anniversary. Picture: SUPPLIED

The message of Fiji’s com­mitment to global peace and sustainable manage­ment of natural resources by the Fijian Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, at the UN’s 75th anniversary may have a positive long-term implications.

This reflects the contribution of Fijian peacekeepers to defend the defenceless and diplomatic ocean diplomacy to conserve it for future generations. It becomes imperative to work to­wards sustainable management of the ocean and its resources.

Environmental issues

Newton’s third law stated “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” that implies on the humans who infiltrated the nature for their material gain and prosperity, will have to pay for their mean deeds.

Nature reciprocates humans con­tamination of the environment in its own ways. Self-questioning about the analysing commit­ment of humans towards the surrounding environment and oceans is required.

The other intriguing question: Is the COVID-19 pandemic effect a blessing for the environment? If yes, how long will this status quo be maintained or will human economic interest resurface to break the compromise.

An individual has become greedy towards material needs that de­plete the natural resources in an unprecedented hustle. Thus, the logical thought arises how one can contribute towards nature under restrictions imposed on nations or COVID-free countries.

Fiji has been serious in raising climatic change issues in the developing states, especially of the Pacific Islands in all interna­tional platforms.

Fiji ratified the Paris Agreement and became the forerunner to lead the climate negotiations as president of COP 23. Similarly, Fiji have a tradition of creating awareness about protecting, preserving and enhancing the en­vironment through its constant efforts.

This has been showcased in celebrating in a meaningful manner the World Environment Day (WED) and World Ocean Day (WOD), in order to conserve our blue planet by protecting and restoring our shared ocean.

Both these days remind us about the intrinsic environmental issues of the depletion of the ozone layer, desertification, en­croachment on wildlife habitats, global warming, sustainable consumption, raising population growth, to sustainable consump­tion and wildlife crime. Overfish­ing, releasing toxic chemicals and marine pollution has become a threat for our oceans.

The need of the hour is to reduce human corrupt practices with nature cycle leading to the con­tamination of the environments such as polluting earth, water and air; disrupting ecosystems; deforestation; soil erosion; rising global temperature and climatic crisis issues. Mankind’s role and duties need to be recapitulated if forgotten and move towards eco-conscious society.

Pacific challenges

Many Pacific Islands are facing environmental challenges that include: unsustainable fishing practices and use of marine resources; destruction of coral reefs; rising sea levels; erosion of coastal areas; destruction of mangroves; rising temperature and sea levels; high destruc­tive winds; degradation of land resources; loss of biodiversity in many areas; risk of loss of coast­al resources; frequent large scale flooding and flash flooding; waste disposal and deforestation; and vulnerability due to cyclones.

We need to work together to con­serve the fragile island ecosys­tems, protect marine life, reduce deforestation and curb the rising variety of pollution. These haz­ards need to be resolved to have a sustainable environment for future generations.

Spread awareness

Several tree-planting activities and clean up campaigns, lec­tures, concerts, parades were organised throughout the year through digital awareness.

There can be different innovative means to raise digital awareness of the environment by individ­ual/family posting about one’s contribution to safeguarding the environment on social media outlets; highlighting the theme to be conscious consumers in order to conserve biodiversity and preserve nature; organising a free webinar on environmental issues; an online campaign to discuss issues of environmental conservation; make self-commit­ment to recycle and avoid usage of the non-degradable products; learn to reduce the plastic waste and carbon footprint.

One has to relook to develop sus­tainable habits to conserve our environment.

After taking social distancing measures, these steps can be sup­plemented by planting trees at home, by wearing green clothes to show support; messaging to create environmental awareness among friends, family, neigh­bours and community members; posting selfies and video messag­es through online mode.

It is an opportunity to inspire others to be more rational in curbing plastic pollution, safe­guarding endangered species and oceans. Pledge to stop litter, re­cycle the products and judicious­ly use the water, are necessary

Subtle lifestyle changes such as maintaining a small garden and to plant the seedling, rationally use water, reduce energy con­sumption and carbon wastage; using eco-friendly means to reduce carbon footprints; recycle basic wastage where possible; avoid plastic usage and move towards using material that is environmentally decomposable; using solar lights and sunlight by opening curtains.

Conclusion

Individual commitment and responsibility are pivotal to achieve the mission to make a healthier and safe environment for our future generations. Morally and ethically, everyone is bound to protect and care to safeguard the environment around us.

We all should support the UNs vi­sion to raise global awareness of the benefits humankind derives from the oceans and our individ­ual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably.

Dr Sakul Kundra is an assistant professor in history at the Col­lege of Humanities and Educa­tion, Fiji National University. The views expressed are his own and not of this newspaper or his employer. For comments or sug­gestions email. dr.sakulkundra@

 

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