UOG’s Dr. Shelton: Islands are leading the way in all issues of sustainability

Dr. Austin Shelton, director of the UOG's Center for Island Sustainability. (PNC photo)

UOG’s Center for Island Sustainability is hosting its 12th Annual Conference on Island Sustainability next month.

Austin Shelton, UOG-CIS director, says that this year’s theme is “Islands are Rising.” He said this is true despite the weight of human illness, bio-diversity loss, and swallowing seas.

He added that islands remain strong and resilient.

“We’ve got a lot of great examples of this on our island like traditional navigators who reminded the world that islands were never isolated. We have always been connected for a millennia by oceans and now, because of undersea fiberoptic cables, islands are now some of the most digitally connected places in the world,” Shelton said.

He added that during the biggest global health pandemic the world has ever seen, islands are now among the safest places in the world.

“We wanted to share some of these examples of how islands are leading the way in all issues of sustainability and sustainability doesn’t just cover environments, it’s also about human society, all about the economy, and about the natural environments so the conference will be a really great blend at the intersections of these three areas,” Shelton said.

He added: “We will show how islands are rising around the world as we bring our partners together.”

Dr. Maya Soetoro, researcher at the University of Hawaii and former president Obama’s sister, will be a moderator at this year’s conference in partnership with the Obama Foundation.

Other topics that will be brought up in the conference will be the growth of local production of goods and agriculture after the pandemic brought heightened awareness of Guam’s vulnerability to supply chains.

Some of the sessions will include a symposium on the United Nations: Decade of Ocean Science with keynote speakers and panels; CIS SeedTalk: Ideas to Cultivate, and more.

The conference will conclude on Saturday, April 10th with the Guam Islandwide Science Fair.