This could be a landmark year for moving forwards on sustainable development in the Isle of Man as well as further afield.
Rarely have so many external influences aligned so neatly at any one time to point us in the right direction.
Firstly on an international level, January has seen the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals – a set of targets aimed at eradicating extreme poverty and transforming the world on a universal scale to follow a more resilient and sustainable path. With 17 goals and 169 targets, the SDGs are intended as an action plan for people, planet and prosperity and Governments across the world will need to work in partnership to achieve their aims.
The launch of the SDGs follows closely on from the Paris Climate Change Conference where Ministers from 196 countries managed to agree a deal to tackle climate change and set themselves a demanding target of keeping the rise in global temperatures below 2oC. This will require adherence to strict emission limits by all countries as well as other developing other ways of mitigating greenhouse gasses.
Closer to home, 2016 will see the introduction of the first action plan from our Government on how we will achieve our 2050 carbon reduction target. This is likely to have impacts on the way we build homes, offices and factories, how we use transportation, our energy production and land use. The target will be achieved by a series of action plans, each being reviewed and assessed after five years.
We also await to see whether the Isle of Man is the first nation to be awarded UNESCO Biosphere status. Biosphere status recognises the natural value of environments and encourages people to live in harmony with their surroundings.
Since EcoVannin was first launched in February 2015, more and more people have got in touch with us to talk about how the future for the Isle of Man might shape up. There is a growing recognition that neither the needs of the economy nor the environment can outweigh the other, and that our future well-being depends on a balance of both along with a strong and vibrant sense of community that fulfils our social needs too.
EcoVannin has been indebted to the Manx Lottery Trust for funding a co-ordinator role over the past year since our launch in February 2015. This funding has enabled us to raise sustainability issues up the agenda in the Isle of Man and kickstart a number of projects that have encouraged people to think about different ways of doing things and demonstrate more sustainable practices.
Funding for our second year is not yet secure (and we would be happy to talk to any potential funders about our plans) but we will continue to champion the cause.
As with the SDGs, Climate Change goals and our own Government’s aims, we will only be successful if everyone joins in and does their bit. So please take this opportunity in early 2016 to think about the future you want for the Isle of Man and for the generations to come. Let’s make it as good, or better, for them as it is for us now.
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