We are all keen to celebrate our birthdays; however, what if I challenge that the World Environmental day is more important? You are sure to be surprised, but it is true. Your birthday only represents the day that you came into this world, but the World Environmental day represents all that sustains you in this life. The air that you breathe, the water that you drink, the food that you eat, and the house where you find shelter and refuge all come from the environment. Hence, to celebrate the World environmental day is to celebrate your life. Furthermore, it is a day to show your gratitude to the surroundings that sustains you.
On the 5th of June Lautoka Campus is holding a special function to commemorate this important day. The theme for this year is “raise your voice – not the sea level”, calling for a decrease in global warming. Students from primary, secondary, and tertiary education will be under one roof displaying posters calling for a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. The impact of climate change is obvious in Fiji and the Pacific islands. The seafarers at Vunda Marina mentioned that the sea has changed and the waves are bigger, as if there is more water in the sea. They are right; as the ice caps are melting there is more water in the sea. According to the Pacific Climate change Science program published document in 2011, the sea level rise around Tuvalu Island is 5mm per year, for Kiribati it is 1-4mm per year, for Solomon Islands it is over 8mm per year, and Fiji is about 6mm per year. Sea level rise also means that the amount of land that will get covered by the sea will also increase.
Every human being would like to have a land that they call ‘home”. Loss of land year by year represents loss of home-land each year for these islanders. On the 5th of June we hope to debate, discuss, and find ways to remedy this situation. Even though we are small islands yet we have the ability to raise our voices instead of drowning. The purpose of inviting our primary and secondary school children is to provide knowledge for them on climate change issues and how best Fiji needs to adapt to combat climate change. Also we will be publishing a magazine containing essays, poems, and short stories written by these children. This magazine will be send to IPCC for their next meeting to be held in Samoa.
To add glamour to this occasion we hope to display a show of dresses made of waste. The FNU staff and students will display these clothes on the runway. With this display we hope to request that communities begin to reduce, reuse, and recycle their waste, thereby reducing the amount of waste that arrives at the waste disposal sites.
This is our invitation to all readers to please join us at Fiji National University at Lautoka campus, Natabua from 9.30am till 4.30pm to celebrate the World Environmental Day. We all have birthdays on different days, but God has given us one day to unite in celebrating all that sustains our lives. Let us join hands on the Thursday the 5th of June to celebrate life.