Protecting Island Life Demands New Sustainability From Owners
Article by Jackie Edwards, June 2022
Climate change is affecting billions of people around the world already through extreme weather events and changing living conditions. However, it’s island dwellers who are bearing the brunt of the threat. The World Bank highlights how island nations from the South Pacific to the Caribbean are experiencing severe storms, economic fallout and, ultimately, sea level rise that will swallow the islands up within decades. While some seas and oceans are more protected than others, the risk of vanishing under the sea is an ever present risk until global warming is brought down. The owners and residents of islands can have a positive impact in this regard, but thinking outside of the box is necessary.
Embracing communal living - energy
Communal living is an essential part of a sustainable future. The modern advent of housing communities, which group property owners into small blocks, already fosters a sense of community and cooperation that takes families one step towards communal living - but more action is needed to take the final step. One of the most crucial steps is embracing district heating. Communal and district heating are already widely available, but not enough has been done to take prototyping into the mainstream. One study, published by the Journal of Energy Conversion and Management, highlights just how powerful district heating can be - bringing emissions to near-zero, and providing clean climate control. This is a great idea for an island community, too, bringing homes together.
Tackling food waste
The wasting of food has become a global issue. Up to a third of all food produced globally isn’t consumed and is instead sent to landfill. Not only is this a complete waste of time and valuable nutrition when many people go hungry, it’s making climate change worse. According to the WWF, up to 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions could be stopped if food waste was reduced. Island families will be all too aware of how important food conservation is - bad weather or local supply shortages can mean going hungry. Taking it to the next level would involve growing your own food - whether plants or livestock - and isn’t a bad idea. Why not build a sustainable island?
Making small adjustments
Behind the wide-ranging changes, like using district heating and growing your own food, come small incremental changes that are greater than the sum of their parts. Reducing single-use plastics, recycling everything you can, minimizing water use when showering or washing dishes, and using gas-powered vehicles as little as possible will all help to combat climate change. What’s more, these changes often make your local area more pleasant to live in - fewer emissions means cleaner air, and less trash means a cleaner surrounding area.