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Our Islands, Our Selves

2002 (29:16 mins) Island Topics #32 Environment

Like a selfless mother nurturing her offspring, the Pacific islands have always provided for their people. As the children mature, it is they who must provide care for their aging and often ailing mother. The video goes on to show the ways in which our care for the islands can be translated into environmental conservation today.

"Our Islands, Our Selves" leads us on a journey through the island ecosystem from the watershed to the coastlines, exploring the importance of each in turn. Protection of the watershed is vital if clean drinking water is to be preserved. The video goes on to show that deforestation, careless clearing of land, and uncontrolled fires results in soil erosion. This, in turn, leads to polluted rivers and streams, with precious dirt being carried away down these waterways and emptied into the coastal areas. Mangroves at the shoreline, which are important barriers against coastal erosion and a nesting spot for valuable marine resources, are being over-harvested in many places. The effect is to strip the islands of the nurseries and protective barriers that are so essential for the islands.

These different components, all of which are being threatened today, make up a single island ecosystem. Protecting the environment does not mean that we are obliged to reject responsible development. But we must recognize the importance of the links that bind us to the land, and nurture the islands that have long nurtured us.

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