This story is based on my home island, Taveuni. It is the third largest island in Fiji and home to an amazing biodiversity of plant and animal species. Taveuni has changed over the years, with new development of infrastructure and the adaptation of the people to more modern practices. Sustainable development on the island, whether it be economically, environmentally or even socially, it has grown and taken a toll on every individual on the island.
A recent unsustainable incident that has got me on my toes is the dispute of families over land. Back in the island, my grandfather has passed on and has left land for my father and his siblings. My grandfather’s younger brothers had gone to my uncles chased them out from that territory and left their plantation behind which will now belong to them. This selfish act can be seen as unsustainable because the land which had been handed done to my father is being forcefully taken away by my granduncles. However, my father and his brothers were successful in keeping their land despite the quarrel.
I believe this type of unsustainable practice has not only happened to my family but similarly to all other families living on the island. This practice does not do good to development and only slows down the process of moving forward. Another event that I had come across back in the island is the increasing amount of small canteens that sell tin food stuff and other convenient food. Many villagers have now turned to convenient food or let’s say instant food instead of the healthy vegetables and crops and not forgetting fish that surrounds them.
Many from the island sell their produce to get money but turn to food that is manufactured in factories to satisfy their diet. This practice is just plain stupid, why? Because many fail to see that they have become dependent and so consumed in earning a lot of money when they are not doing justice to their health and the community. People are trying to move forward at a really fast pace but are really losing a lot during the process.
Comparing the island back in the days and now, there are a lot of things that have changed. For instance, the luscious green forest that almost covered the whole island then has disappeared now. This is another example of an unsustainable event that I have come across. Back in the days there were a variety of trees and variety of animals found in the wild, no these species have cease to exist. The forest gave so much back in the days, from beautiful wood made into ornaments to traditional medicine. People heavily depended on these resources and in the long run have abused them instead of preserving them and renewing them.
Such events have got me thinking and seeing sustainability with a wider eye. I think in order to combat the issue of unsustainability then we should start with the younger generation in terms of awareness. Sustainable practices should be taught and made aware of at lower levels of education, primary school level. It is seen that this is taught in school but not strictly implemented. I believe parents and teachers should work together to make living sustainably a norm. And on top of this, everything starts from home, when parents set a strong foundation from home then there is no doubt that the young ones will make sustainable practices a habit.
I am now motivated to learn more about sustainability and everything that concerns conservation in any aspect, whether it be environmental, economic or social. The experiences that were previously mentioned come under each of the aspects or pillars of sustainability. Something that I would like to know is why is it that people who come up with goals and achievement plans to gain sustainability are not the very ones that are experiencing the events themselves. What I mean to say is that people from the other side of the globe are drawing up acts and planning how we the affected should do things. We the people in the Pacific experience poverty and goals of eradicating poverty is set in one of the developed countries. We should have a say in what needs to be done to overcome our own problems.
The other is climate change, Oceania is greatly affected by the effects of climate change and yet we are not the main contributors to the causes of climate change. Developed countries are the very ones that are the leading cause of climate change due to many reasons such as harmful carbon emissions. The pacific are doing their part in trying to combat the issue of climate change because of how it terribly affects us. In Fiji there is a levy placed on the use of plastic bags which is now at 50 cents a bag and countries like the Solomon Island have completely banned the use of plastic.
More can be done to help minimise the effects of climate change upon our countries, all that is needed is for the developed countries to work with the developing countries to help slow down the harmful effects of climate change. Most families in the Pacific are now using renewable sources of energy for electricity like Solar Power. We in the Pacific are doing a lot to help sustainability to grow. And this is the only way forward. I would greatly advise leaders from all the countries in the world to stop making unrealistic decisions and goals and at least help their own countries to live sustainably.
In conclusion, the fight for sustainability can only be successful if we all work together towards it. We all have a common goal which is to have a sustainable environment, the work is in our hands and if we start teaching the younger generation now than there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sustainability should be about helping the issue of poverty, helping the issue of conservation of marine resources and also helping the people protect the whole environment and each and everything that is in it.