Guam – Professionals and experts gathered this morning for the UOG Sustainability Conference to dicuss issues regarding climate change.
Seychelles Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing States Issues Ronny Jumeau was the keynote speaker whose presentation focuses on islands reaching out to other islands finding island solutions to island problems.
Jumeau said, “Each island has it’s own specificity but common problems we all face are climate change, sea level rise, problem with coral reefs, diminishing fisheries. We have food security problems, especially in low lying islands. You have water security problems on islands. We have all sorts of problems that are similar because we are islands.”
Jumeau continued on to say the common mistake islands make is looking towards bigger countries for help instead of helping one another. He said the days of reaching out with a begging bowl are over and islands should come out and say “come help us help ourselves” instead. With Guam having a university and sustainability center, Jumeau added that we already have knowledge we can share.
“We are all trying to find solutions and very often one mistake we made over the many years, we tend to look towards bigger countries because they’re richer or more powerful for the solutions but they don’t think like us. The best thing is for us to talk before we reach out so we find out what we want to do on our islands and how do we solve these problems,” he said.
Jumeau advised Guam to engage the whole community in educating ourselves about climate change because only a few things about climate change is new. He expained that it’s great to have the youth interested but also to look towards our elders who have already been through many natural disasters and have more knowledge about our island.