Monday, April 15, 2024

Environmental ‘Champions’ set high-water mark for climate action


In the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 19th century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge warned of a world where there was “water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink”. For two of this year’s laureates of the Champions of the Earth award, the importance of waterways to mitigating the effects of climate change has shaped political and legal advocacy that has had a transformative power for environmental stewardship.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, whose commitment to climate rehabilitation made his country the first signatory to the landmark Paris Agreement, has been a tireless advocate of the need to consider the importance of a healthy and functioning ocean to climate change mitigation.

“The science is very clear about the consequences of a global temperature rise of 3 degrees celsius, and we cannot let that happen,” Prime Minister Bainimarama has said. “If nothing is done soon, human survival will be threatened. We cannot afford to take that gamble.”

Oceans are not the only waterways of importance for healthy and sustainable life on Earth, as another of this year’s laureates has shown with her passionate pursuit of environmental justice for the indigenous communities of the Amazon Basin. Nemonte Nenquimo of Ecuador’s Waorani people has won a series of critical legal victories to prevent the auctioning of parcels of land for resource exploitation along the Amazon River. Read more…

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