Raising awareness vital

By Natasha Schmidt ,

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Fuatino Ah Wai of Apia.

Fuatino Ah Wai of Apia.

It’s all about the environment in Samoa this week.

With the National Environment Week commemoration in full swing, the government ministries are consulting with villages and members of different communities about the challenges presented by the changing climate as well as the opportunities for growth and development.

Yesterday, we asked some members of the community to tell us what they think really matters in such a week as this.

 “The environment week for me is really important,” said Fuatino Ah Wai.

“We need to conserve our environment, we need to see what is better for Samoa in terms of development and what can be done to sustain our way of life moving forward.”

One of the key things for Ms. Ah Wai is the need to prepare the nation for Natural Disasters.

“I think a very important part of this is to help our people understand what they can do in times of natural disasters.

“There are a lot of challenges you can see in Samoa right now. To meet these challenges, there should be a lot of awareness raised so that people are informed. Informed people will be better prepared for these challenges.”

She also praised the consultations between the villages and government officials, saying it’s an important way to bridge the communication gap in terms of getting key messages across to them.

It’s a viewpoint shared by Iopu Asiasi, who believes so many people can benefit from the national commemoration.

 “There is definitely a need to better communicate the information that’s available so that people can understand,” he said. 

Iopu Asiasi
Iopu Asiasi

“I think the challenge is how do we make sure people remember this information.

“After this week, people are going to forget about it and go back to their rituals. This should be a constant event, to always remind people about the dangers lurking out there.”

What do you think about the climate challenges Samoa is facing?

“The challenges I think is getting everyone involved, all the stakeholders, to be on the same page,” said one government official who did not want to be named.

“We need the civil societies, N.G.Os, government ministries and organizations that are doing the work for the environment to integrate.

“We should not go as individual units, but as one unit, and raise the awareness of our people on environmental issues, climate change issues, how we can make a difference, so when a natural disaster happens, people are ready and have become resilient.”

Are you not tired of talkfests and forums?

“No,” said Iopu Asiasi. “They are doing all of these things for the betterment of the country, having a good schedule, doing one thing at a time. 

Ms. Ah Wai agrees.

“The more we have a lot of awareness programmes and consultations, the more people are alerted to what to do. 

“They should also do some competitions, it is really good to have competitions not only for schools but for communities and villages. It really encourages and forces people to play their part.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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