by Jolene Toves
Guam - With the future in mind the University of Guam hosted an Island Sustainability Conference to spark conversation on achieving a sustainable community.
When it comes to thinking green sometimes taking a look at the larger picture will help stress the importance of doing the little things in our villages. At the University of Guam's Island Sustainability Conference residents are given the opportunity to learn, network, and act on regional and global sustainability efforts. UOG president Dr. Robert Underwood said, "Of course we pushed the whole notion of island sustainability so being a sustainable island being a green island and an island that focuses on its future and sustainability will be a healthier society and have a stronger economy and just be a better place to live."
To realize this vision for the future Underwood says everyone needs to think green. In regards to local efforts Ann Gawel says pests are a big factor in the dissemination of many local plants such as the serianthes nelsonii, a rare leguminous tree with only one tree remaining on island. "Guam's eco system is completely different from what they were a few decades ago because we have been so relaxed about moving invasive species in and around," she said.
Realizing that everything is tied together on the regional front the conference discussed the Micronesian Biosecurity Plan. Efforts on island are underway to battle invasive species. Roland Quitugua said, "Its not good enough for me to know what to do and take care of my property because my neighbor also influences my ecosystem my yard my home do you think that I or you can do this alone and the best tool I can say we have is for us to educate each other."
Meanwhile globally efforts for sustainability is now a priority as organizations around the world including our island are working to move away from fossil fuel and looking towards a suitable mixture of liquid natural gas and renewable energy for the generation of power. Blue Planet Foundation program director Richard Walsgrove said, "Really we are just stewards of our islands for the folks that in school today or the folks that aren't even born today when we ask these really big critical questions where does power come from how do we turn the lights on starting from that question where is it going to leave our children forty years time is the best possible starting place."
While many endeavors are underway one thing is clear: taking the necessary steps today will help secure a better future for tomorrow.