Tess Murray - Senior Consultant
Barbados, Cuba, Fiji, Mauritius, Maldives.. all of these tropical destinations conjure up idyllic images of palm tree beaches with white sands and sparkling crystal clear waters lapping gently on the shore..
With the last few weeks in the UK being characterised by gloomy, grey skies and rain, no doubt many of us have been dreaming of far off places, such as these, and looking to escape abroad to seek out some of that elusive sunshine.
However, not many of us will likely spare a thought for the vulnerability of these pristine island oases to the impacts of climate change that, overwhelming evidence suggests, we are all contributing to. Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the main focus of this year’s World Environment Day, contribute just a tiny proportion (less than 1%) of global CO2 emissions and yet, are likely to experience the most detrimental impacts. This is because many of these islands are at or close to sea level now and, with sea levels predicted to rise up to 59cm by the end of the century, such a change would result in many favourite holiday destinations, such as the Maldives, becoming uninhabitable.
It has been estimated that over 120,000 tonnes of plastic spills into the world’s oceans each day, to put that into context, that’s the equivalent weight of adding 10,000 of Boris’ new London Routemaster buses to the ocean every day! Much of this plastic litter can find its way back to beaches resulting in numerous environmental and economic impacts.
Today is World Environment Day, an initiative aimed at raising awareness and promoting positive action on the most pressing environmental challenges around the globe. At Temple Group, whilst we strive to apply sustainable practices to everything that we do, we can always do more. This year we have chosen plastic pollution in oceans to mark the Day (and, incidentally, it’s World Oceans Day this Sunday), with talks and activities in our London office. We’ve also asked all our staff to make a pledge to act, this could be something small like no plastic bags for a week or cutting out meat from your diet one day a week.
In our ongoing commitments to reduce our personal carbon footprints some of the fitter staff amongst us are running to work as Thursday also happens to coincide with the first #run2work day initiative!
Hopefully, your workplace is undertaking a similar initiative. If not, perhaps for a moment, let your mind wander to that tropical white sand beach, bask in sunshine and then take just one small action to pledge your support for World Environment Day – switch off that light you aren’t using, eat your dinner leftovers for lunch instead of throwing them away, take a reusable bag to the shops or walk to the office instead of catching the bus.