The Fiji National University (FNU) recognises the immediacy of the climate emergency and the need for systemic change and has placed environmental sustainability as an all-encompassing theme of its Strategic Plan 2021–2026.
FNU’s College of Engineering, Sciences and Technology (CEST) planted native trees at the Nabua campus to mark the World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5 globally.
FNU is committed to playing a pivotal role in contributing to the global target, and it will embed environmental sustainability in the procurement policies, plans for new buildings and refurbishment of the existing estate, with an explicit focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, harnessing renewable energy, and maximising climate resilience and business continuity.
The University will also impart knowledge and establish innovative solutions on climate change adaptation and mitigation through our education and research, policies, and sustainable budgeting, utilise the FNU estate as a ‘living laboratory’ to test, develop and refine sustainability initiatives, prepare our students for success in the blue/green economy; and helping the University become a role model for sustainability.
Smart Farms Fiji Foundation founder Rinesh Sharma was the Chief Guest to mark the World Environment Day with the students and staff members. He reminded the attendees of the importance of the environment to the people.
“The Pacific nations have done the least but are suffering the most. This is a slow death sentence for our people and the environment. Suppose we are to keep the 1.5-degree ambition alive. In that case, we must implement carbon sequestration initiatives by the next decade, powering millions of sustainable and green innovations to restore the wild and bring balance to our planet,” Sharma said.
“The way out of this dilemma is to transform our economies and societies to make them inclusive, fair, and more connected with nature. We must shift from harming the planet to healing it. As a visionary leader, I am combining innovations with local resources and skills to restore biodiversity and improve food security by empowering our people through climate adaptative and resilient farming practices, if we are to keep the 1.5-degree ambition alive and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal goals by 2030.”
As part of the Strategic Plan 2021-2026, FNU aims to position itself as a leader in climate change adaptation and sustainability through our education and research, actions and policies, and ‘green budgeting’; utilise its estate as a ‘living laboratory’ to test, develop and refine sustainability initiatives; prepare students for success in the blue/green economy; and become a role model for sustainability.
Assistant Professor in Environmental Science Dr Ulukalesi Tamata said since that first World Environment Day, the global effort to take care of the environment has been painfully slow.
“There are many degraded ecosystems within our campuses and neighbourhoods – polluted creeks and rivers, eroded slopes and riverbanks. Identifying these areas and carrying out restorative measures would be an immense contribution,” she said.
“The purchase of the three different-coloured bins to sort and separate the solid waste generated at the different campuses is the first step. However, measuring or enumerating the volume of each waste type and documenting these will certainly add value to the effort.
“By working towards reducing the waste load (through re-thinking our choice of foods and drinks) from each campus, we are actually reducing our environmental footprint, and therefore making progress towards ecosystem restoration, to protect the one earth we live in.”
FNU is committed to creating a more inclusive and robust economy by reducing carbon emissions to restore our natural environment and protect our people from climate change.