Environment America, dozens more groups sign Climate Strong Islands Declaration

Declaration calls for more sustainable, resilient island communities
For Immediate Release

SAN JUAN, P.R. -- Representing Americans from Guam to St. Croix, more than 60 U.S. island communities, foundations, environmental organizations, companies, and academic institutions came together Wednesday to sign the Climate Strong Islands Declaration. This first-of-its kind effort is designed to encourage philanthropy, government, business, and academia to recognize how the deepening climate crisis is affecting island communities and how current policies, programs and approaches fall short in meeting their needs. 

The Climate Strong Islands Declaration sets forth a set of principles, challenges, and opportunities faced by islands in the United States and its territories and serves as a call to help these communities respond to the climate crisis in an effective way.

With the right support, island communities are well positioned to create, pilot, and perfect innovative solutions that address climate mitigation, resilience, and sustainability. They can pioneer nature-based solutions to prevent coastal erosion in the face of rising sea levels and intensifying storms. With sustained and focused investments, they are poised to transform their energy, transportation, food, and water systems and model the low-carbon, resilient economy we need to build in the 21st century.

Wendy Wendlandt, acting president of Environment America, participated in the announcement of the Declaration and released the following statement:  

Environment America has affiliates in more than two dozen states, including many with vibrant island communities. Our people on the ground see firsthand how island residents bravely face down climate impacts, from hurricanes to sea-level rise, and the devastating flooding and storm surges that they can bring. The destruction wrought by Hurricane Maria here in Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean made it clear to those who don’t live it each day: To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to act -- and act NOW. For everyone’s sake, it’s imperative that we stop burning fossil fuels and switch to increasingly abundant renewable energy to electrify everything in our society, from buildings to transportation and more. 

Transportation has become climate enemy number one in the United States. The U.S.  transportation sector is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire economies of France and the United Kingdom combined. We just released a report yesterday providing a roadmap to a destination of zero-carbon transportation to ensure that our children live in safer, healthier communities. We know how to do it -- with clean, electric cars and buses, and pedestrian-friendly and bicycle-friendly streets. We just need to convince our elected officials that we have the will to make these changes to our outdated, car-centric culture. And as we power our society more and more with clean, renewable energy, we can also power our transportation system with energy we harness from the sun and the wind. 

We owe it to our friends here in Puerto Rico and on all endangered islands to step up to the climate challenge and take bold action.

 

The full list of signatories includes:

  • 350.org
  • Abruña & Musgrave Architects
  • America’s WETLAND Foundation
  • Atlantic Marine Conservation Society
  • Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora
  • Brigadas Salubristas
  • Cambio, Puerto Rico
  • Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment
  • Clean Energy Group
  • Comite Dialogo Ambiental
  • Coral Vita
  • Defend H2O
  • El Puente
  • El Puente: Enlace Latino de Acción Climática
  • Emerge Puerto Rico
  • Enterprise
  • Environment America
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Estuario
  • Friends of the Bay
  • Friends of the Earth United States
  • Fundación Amigos de El Yunque
  • Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico
  • Futures Forum
  • Galveston Bay Foundation
  • Global Island Partnership
  • Governor of Guam
  • Green Cross
  • Guam Legislature
  • Hawai’i Youth Climate Coalition
  • Hawai’i Green Growth
  • Hispanic Federation
  • Institute of Caribbean Studies
  • Island Impact
  • Island Institute
  • Kua‘āina Ulu ‘Auamo
  • Long Island Community Foundation
  • The Miami Foundation
  • Micronesia Climate Change Alliance
  • Mujeres de Islas
  • Natural Area Reserves System
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The New York Community Trust
  • North Shore Land Alliance
  • The Ocean Foundation
  • Open Space Council
  • Pacific RISA
  • Para la Naturaleza
  • Puerto Rico Bar Association
  • Queremos Sol
  • Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Sea Grant Puerto Rico
  • Sierra Club
  • Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood NY
  • Solar Responders
  • SWEEP Standard
  • Sylvester Manor Educational Farm
  • Trust for Public Land’s Hawaiian Islands Program
  • United Nations Association of the United States of America - Puerto Rico Chapter
  • University of Guam
  • University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability
  • University of Guam Green Army
  • University of Puerto Rico Center for Public Health Preparedness
  • University of Puerto Rico Department of Environmental Health
  • Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust
  • ViequesLove
  • Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology