Samoa SIDS conference: a future that’s being stolen

I’m in beautiful Samoa. It’s terrifying.

Samoa is the gracious host of a major global conference of small island states this week. To visit this beautiful nation is wonderful, but also terrifying. We, the big consumers of coal, oil and gas around the world, thousands of miles away from Samoa, are stealing the future from this astonishing country and people.

The damage we are doing can be seen here and, even more, on other Pacific islands, right now. The outlook for the children of the Pacific seems precarious, bleak.

Youth from across the three SIDS regions converged in deep discussions on Education, Health, Climate Change and Employment during the Youth Forum - the start to #SIDS2014 pre-conference activities. (c) UNICEF Pacific
Youth from across the three SIDS regions converged in deep discussions on Education, Health, Climate Change and Employment during the Youth Forum – the start to #SIDS2014 pre-conference activities. (c) UNICEF Pacific

But if, over the coming ten years, we would switch to clean energy sources for our businesses, homes and vehicles in as many countries as possible, we would most likely succeed in giving Samoa it’s future back.

The clean sources are abundant. It hardly costs more to tap into them than finding, digging up and burning fossil fuels, especially when we factor in the huge subsidies and tax breaks for oil and coal and the costs of repairing the damage they do.

Let’s stop the madness. It’s in our power to do so. If we don’t, we will destroy Samoa and a multitude of other island nations and communities. We will also do grave damage to our own countries and the entire planet.

What are we waiting for?

Olav Kjorven, UNICEF Director of Public Partnerships, attended the #SIDS2014 conference in Apia, Samoa, this week.

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