CLIMATE CHANGE, not that big of a deal isnt it or is it? Most people and developed countries have taken it for granted, with politicians turning a blind eye to it, but Pacific Island leaders are at the forefront of moving a revolution and shining light on the egregious effects that are threatening the very existence of the island nations; and this is because they have realized that this is far greater than fearing about their political status instead it has now come down to the matter of survival. The threat of climate change is indeed real, urgent, serious and is growing overnight.
Pacific island nations like Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tonga and Vanuatu are some of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse effects of climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)s assessment report, the Pacific region is without a doubt the worlds most vulnerable regions in terms of risk of disasters with increasing frequency and intensity of natural catastrophes. Not only affecting the island nations environmentally but in other ways like significant income loss across many sectors like, tourism, forestry, agriculture and water resources. This causes the nations economy to suffer with increasing poverty and frequent disasters, making businesses and organizations to become economically unstable. Consequently, decreasing the overall standard of living for many individuals.
One of the many questions that arises is that, who shall be blamed for the enhanced Climate change that man have triggered. There is no universal answer to such a question. Instead no one can be specifically blamed for such a substantial crisis. However, something that is undoubtedly true is that the pacific island nations are one of the smallest contributors to climate change. Leaving behind a minimal carbon footprint and maintaining the natural environment by keeping it as intact as possible. Hence, what makes the islanders aggrieved is the very fact that their homes are in danger and other nations have not yet even prioritized such an issue.
The impacts of climate change are clearly evident, with one of the most noticeable impact being Sea level rise. Almost all the pacific island nations have faced direct effects of this with small atolls encountering significant sea level rise and low-lying settlements forced to relocate due to coastal flooding and seawater intrusion, which has caused natural fresh water reserves into being contaminated by sea water and making agriculture almost impossible.
In general, Climate change poses a direct threat to human security be it political instability or economic crisis or worst come food insecurity. The people of the pacific have habitually depended on traditional cultivation methods and have depended on their fertile soil and rich rivers for their very source of food. However, extreme weather conditions such as extensive droughts and even floods have caused great loss of crops, making vegetation an even greater challenge for farmers. Consequently, causing the prices to inflate as well as making fresh food supplies to become a scarcity.
However, now it is not the question of what to do, how to do or who should do it? It is about what we can all do as individuals. Pacific islanders have already started to combat climate change in numerous ways, from the government to schools to even local villages. The awareness has amplified the overall understanding amongst people making individuals think about the long run and their kids.
One of the many practical ways that Fiji has adapted is the introduction of a Plastic Bag Levy. The implementation of a 20cent levy has forced people to reduce their plastic usage, thus helping manage waste as well as reducing littering drastically saving marine ecosystems and helping keep Fiji clean.
In addition, recently the government has imposed a ban on fishing of certain breeds of fishes namely Kawakawa and Donu from June to September as it is their spawning season. This will ensure that the stock is brought back to a sustainable level. Fishing has become tougher for people who have to now travel form reefs to reefs or go further into the ocean in order to get a good catch. Furthermore, food security could be improved through the promotion of organic farming and increasing the production of traditional crops.
Global warming has caused oceans to get warmer resulting in coral bleaching. With summers becoming hotter and drier and winters becoming colder and wetter the unpredictable weather patterns over the recent years has shocked the people with record breaking temperatures and frequent natural calamities than ever before. The effects are endless and consequences of the climate change evident in almost every aspect.
Another practical approach that can be taken is switching over to renewable energy. Fortunately, most pacific countries rely on hydropower and solar energy as the major source of electricity. However, there is a need for a global push for better and cleaner energy. Renewable energy is not only the best choice for the environment, but also for the economy as being one of the cheapest and readily available energy sources.
Furthermore, for a climate-stable planet people should start eating more vegetable and consume more meat-free meals. As peculiar as it sounds, the diet that one chooses really makes much of a dent in something as huge a global warming. A study conducted by the UN IPCC fifth assessment report indicates that nearly a quarter of the global greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, forestry and other land use. Surprisingly, this is greater than all of cars on the planet almost half of that. To put it into perspective, most of the meat produced requires much more energy than vegetables. For instance, a single serving of beef emits about 330 grams of carbon, that is just about driving a car for 5 kilometers.
This is the most practical way to reduce emission when people start to put more vegetable and less meat on their plate. You do not have to go vegan to fight climate change. Research shows that slight changes in our diets can actually make a big difference. We may not all be able to afford electrical cars or solar panels on our roofs, however, by making some choices in the food we eat can help reduce emissions significantly.
In conclusion, Global warming is the chief cause for climate change, but it can be solved easily if people are very well practicing to lower carbon emissions, rule and regulations are implemented and effective agriculture and forest management. Through individual efforts, we can reduce the changes in the global climate. We must try our best to solve the problem and strive as much as possible to reinstate our earth for the sake of our future generation.