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Raise your voice, not the sea level

Alison Guscott 05 Jun 2014

This year’s theme for World Environment Day on June 5th ‘Raise your voice, not the sea level’ is focused on SIDS. Well the first thing I thought was ‘what on earth are SIDS?’ - I’d never heard of them, and what have they got to do with you or me?

Put simply, SIDS, or Small Island Developing States, are small low-lying, coastal countries; and the UNEP decided to focus on these because although these islands are among the least responsible for climate change, they are likely to suffer the most from it.

These islands and their people are at risk from changes in the climate. More frequent and severe storms and increased coastal erosion are just two examples of events that can cause loss of life and cause damage to property and infra- structure, in a way that could cripple a small island’s economy. But the most worrying threat comes from sea level rise. Many of these islands will become uninhabitable as sea water invades further inland, poisoning soils and fresh water, or will disappear under water completely – for example a sea level rise of 1m would see the Maldives disappear forever.

Well what has this got to do with you or me? Although the plight of SIDS probably won’t directly affect us, other than limiting our bucket list of holiday destinations, it does highlight the fact that our actions can have massive impacts on others.

So, to relate it to the real world, at BAM, we’ve asked people at our sites and offices to make a pledge, something simple that they could do to help make a difference to climate change. Whether it’s by biking to work, making sure office computers are turned off when not in use, or sites storing offcuts for other tradespeople to use, small actions all count.

We’ve also invited staff to make a short video explaining what sustainability issues were important to them, making them think about what they are already doing to be sustainable, and what they would like to see BAM doing more of into the future. Many of these things already happen, but encouraging even more people to be mindful of their actions and their impacts can make a big difference.

 A site team taking part in World Environment Day 

World Environment Day’s focus on SIDS has got us thinking about the wider implications all our actions and choices have, not just as a construction company, but as an individual. It’s the little things, that when done by everyone can make a real difference; not just to lower your personal carbon footprint, but to help reduce climate change impacts across the world.

So what have SIDS really got to do with you or me? Turns out quite a lot, actually!

Alison Guscott is an Assistant Sustainability Advisor at BAM.



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