Greening the Islands Foundation

Global Island News Roundup: Islands Confront Growing Challenges Turning to Innovative Solutions

Islands are uniquely vulnerable to climate change effects like rising sea levels and devastating storms. Yet, they are also rising to the challenge with innovative solutions and a fierce determination to protect their future. Recent news highlight how they’re driving progress, confronting difficult policy decisions, facing the stark reality of climate change, witnessing community action that demand a more sustainable path forward and the urgent need to address the impacts of overtourism.

Solomon Islands are pioneering carbon credits schemes

A group of communities in a South Pacific country, which has been severely affected by logging, have collaborated to sell “high integrity” carbon credits on global markets. This initiative not only helps in preserving the highly diverse rainforest, but also provides a significant source of income to the Indigenous landowners, thereby positively impacting their lives. The Solomon Islands are making waves in the world of carbon markets with their innovative project: an initiative that aims to protect forests while generating revenue for local communities. Such projects have potential to combat climate change, support conservation, and benefit island economies. However, they also raise important questions about ensuring equitable benefits and verifying the integrity of carbon offset schemes.

Protests in Canary Islands over mass tourism

Demonstrators marched in protest in the Canary Islands to demand a tourism model that respects the environment of the islands and their residents. Across Spain’s Canary Islands, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand changes to the current model of mass tourism. They claim that the model is overwhelming the archipelago. The protests signal a groundswell of public concern about the impacts of overtourism. Residents are demanding government action to address the environmental and social strains caused by an excessive influx of visitors. Proposals include limiting visitor numbers, implementing eco-taxes to support conservation, and pausing further tourism development. Awareness is growing among island communities that sustainable tourism must prioritise the long-term well-being of both communities and environments, while offering visitors alternative ways of experiencing the islands.


Philippines weigh joining a coalition to cut plastic production

Nations made progress on a UN treaty to end plastic pollution as their fourth round of talks closed in Canada. As countries negotiated a first-ever global plastics treaty, parties were divided over what the treaty should include. The Philippines is facing a pivotal decision over joining the “High Ambition Coalition”, a group that advocates for strongly reducing plastic production, which comes with widespread implications for islands worldwide. At the heart of the debate is a dilemma familiar to many developing island nations: balancing the urgent need for environmental protection against concerns over the potential economic impact of stricter regulations. The Philippines’ choice will not only affect their islands but could influence the actions of other countries facing similar challenges. Reducing plastic production is a key step in tackling the root causes of plastic pollution but the plastics industry lobby opposes ambitious progress. 

Mass coral bleaching is occurring amid a global heat stress event

A fourth planet-wide bleaching event has occurred due to global heating, resulting in widespread bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. The Coral Reef Watch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that 54% of ocean waters with coral reefs are facing heat stress that can cause bleaching. Shocking aerial footage exposes the devastating extent of the mass coral bleaching event.  This stark visual remarks on the urgency of addressing climate change, which is causing ocean temperatures to rise and endanger coral reefs worldwide. Islands, whose economies and cultures are deeply intertwined with ocean health, are particularly vulnerable. This crisis is a powerful reminder that protecting our oceans requires immediate global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a sustainable future.

Recent developments paint a complex picture of island sustainability. While challenges like plastic pollution and coral bleaching are undeniable, we also see communities demanding change, governments facing pivotal decisions, and islands at the forefront of solutions such as renewable energy and carbon markets. These actions offer a beacon of hope for a greener island future.

Jacques Damhuis

Jacques Damhuis

On Key

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