Wansolwara News

Vol. 5 No. 2
June 2000

Page 3

'THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY' PLEA OVER ENVIRONMENT
By SALESH KUMAR

ENVIRONMENTAL groups have appealed to the Fiji Islands Education Review Commission to treat the Pacific’s “fragile” environment seriously as lack of protection poses a major security risk for the region’s sustainable development and survival.

They want the education system to introduce a new structure which is open to testing new concepts and ideas among young people.

Regional non-government organisations have submitted the collective submission entitled “Education for Sustainability” to the commission requesting regional environment issues to become an integral part of the curriculum.

Stanley Simpson, assistant director of the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, said: “Environment issues cannot be addressed in isolation. Fiji’s environment issues and problems are inextricably linked with environment problems and issues in the wider Pacific region and the world.

“The national education curriculum on environment seems to focus largely on telling students to pick up rubbish and keep Fiji beautiful. This is important, but we need to focus on this better because there are also political and economic implications in Fiji, regionally and around the world.”

In other developments:

o Wansolwara today publishes a special liftout on regional environmental issues ranging from coral bleaching to toxic substances.

o A millennium Asia-Pacific media conference on the environment is due in Suva on July 24-28.

o A 15-spot series on sustainability and environmental issues made by the University of the South Pacific journalism students in association with UNESCO and the Secretariat for the Pacific Community (SPC) will begin broadcasting on Pacific television stations this month.

The NGOs which have made the joint submission to the Education Commission include Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, Greenpeace, South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), SPACHEE, GTZ - a German forestry organisation based at the SPC, Vision Fiji, Keep Fiji Clean, Live and Learn and Women’s Action for Change (WACC).

Christian Nielsen, of the regional director/programme development of Live and Learn Environmental Education in the South Pacific, said: “There is no doubt an immense pressure on the environment. “Pacific Island countries like Fiji are trying hard to capture their share of the global market in the areas of hardwood, sugar and tuna.

“The price for this share is high as most Pacific Island countries mainly have their natural resources to take to the global market.” Mr Nielsen said Europe, Japan and the US supported this because they had already depleted their resources and were now “looking for new playing fields”.

Another issue was global warming and particularly the effects on coral reefs from this issue. This was posing the greatest threat to the Pacific’s most sustainable industry — tourism. “Perhaps a good way our education system could address this is the ‘think globally, act locally’ concept,” he said.

Mr Simpson said: “Education on the environment could focus on actions at the national level and the wider issues it entailed on the regional and international level.”

Education commission member Dr Esther Williams said: “The environmental issues are already in the curriculum, but the submissions have emphasised the importance to strengthen the role of environment education.”

The report is still being prepared.


File created: 3 June 2000
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