World Environment Day (WED) is on June 5, 2014, and this year it is particularly devoted to the impact of global warming on small island states with the theme “Small Islands and Climate Change.” It is being observed in conjunction with United Nations (UN) declaration of 2014 as International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), with the official slogan “Raise Your Voice, Not The Sea Level.”
The world’s 52 island nations – including Haiti and Jamaica in the Caribbean, Kiribati and Nauru in the Pacific, the Comoros in the Indian Ocean, and other islands in the Mediterranean and South China Sea, are vulnerable to climate change, natural disasters and rising seas, the United Nations Environment Programme said. WED 2014 is an excellent opportunity to raise a call for solidarity with the islands, it suggested. The Third International Conference on SIDS in September, 2014, in Apia, Samoa, is focusing on greater understanding of SIDS and of the urgency to help protect the islands amid growing risks and vulnerabilities.
“Planet Earth is our shared island; let us join forces to protect it. The International Year is an opportunity to appreciate the extraordinary resiliency and rich cultural heritage of the people of small island developing states,” was the call of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Activities that nations and individuals contribute, in solidarity with citizens of small island states, to protect the environment and attain a healthy and sustainable life on Earth, are clean-up food waste reduction campaign, biking, walking, bans on plastic, tree-planting, recycling, photo and art exhibits, social media campaigns and contests.
Each year, the Philippines join the WED celebration, led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Tourism, observing the day as “people’s day” for doing something positive for the environment.
Various groups hold environment awareness programs, engage local media in disseminating information and educating communities on environment issues, and hold sports, arts, photographs, music and dance programs. The observance is not only for a day, but the whole month of June as Environment Month, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 237 issued in 1998, to focus attention on conserving and protecting natural resources. The Philippines shares common environmental challenges with other island states in the world, such as rising sea level and extreme weather phenomenon spawned by climate change.
For the original report go to http://www.tempo.com.ph/2014/06/world-environment-day-in-solidarity-with-small-island-states/#.U4_h9RamZe4