UOG represents Guam at climate-focused declaration signing among U.S. islands

UOG represents Guam at climate-focused declaration signing among U.S. islands

UOG represents Guam at climate-focused declaration signing among U.S. islands


Climate Strong Islands Declaration signing for Guam on Feb. 26(Standing, from left) Carlotta Leon Guerrero; Tyrone Taitano; Michelle Voacolo; Evangeline Lujan; Sen. Kelly Marsh-Taitano; Thomas Krise; Lauren Swaddell; Moñeka De Oro; (seated, from left) Sen. Sabina Perez, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, and Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio at the Climate Strong Islands Declaration signing for Guam on Feb. 26.

The University of Guam represented the island of Guam among 60 other U.S. islands and entities at the Climate Strong Islands Declaration signing in Puerto Rico on Feb. 26. The declaration is a call upon federal and state governments, philanthropy, academia, and the private sector to recognize the chronic lack of attention and investments that islands have endured regarding climate change and to act.

Representing Guam at the signing event were UOG Center for Island Sustainability Director Austin Shelton and UOG Green Army President Kyle Dahilig.

Austin and Kyle
UOG's Austin Shelton and Kyle Dahilig speak at the declaration signing.

“Signing the Climate Strong Islands Declaration is another important step that moves our island closer to the global forefront of sustainability,” Shelton said. “Our network of partnerships in sustainability around the world continues to expand. This declaration will help us advance local climate action in alignment with the Guam Green Growth Initiative and Climate Change Resiliency Commission.”

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

“The University of Guam is proud to be a representative for Guam and all of Micronesia on this declaration and to be a partner among so many island communities with common concerns. As an institution of research and higher education serving the whole region, we want to contribute expertise and resources toward the critical issues in our region, and climate change in particular,” said UOG President Thomas W. Krise.

UOG CIS Director and UOG Green Army President at Declaration Signing
UOG CIS Director Austin Shelton and UOG Green Army President Kyle Dahilig (far left) join other signatories for the main Climate Strong Islands Declaration signing event on Feb. 26 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio led a Guam-based signing of the declaration on island among various Guam agencies and organizations, including the University of Guam, the Council on Climate Change Preparedness and Resiliency, the Climate Change Resiliency Commission, and the Micronesia Climate Change Alliance.

“I am pleased that Guam is the first to commit to this important decision. Signing this declaration gives us a stronger voice in the national and global communities,” the governor said. “Locally, our government has several initiatives to address climate change, including the Climate Change Resiliency Commission and Guam Green Growth. Further, I have gratitude for the hard work and passion of the other signatories to address climate change on our island and to ensure that we have a livable island for future generations.”

The declaration emerged from more than two years of discussion that started when Hurricanes Maria and Irma devastated Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Florida Keys. It highlights the incredible potential and increasing perils that islands face from the climate crisis. The Pacific Islands are experiencing their own impacts as well, including increased storm and drought intensity, increased sea surface temperatures, coral bleaching, sea-level rise, and coastal erosion.

With the right support, island communities are well-positioned to co-create, pilot, and perfect innovative, nature-based solutions that address climate mitigation, resilience, and sustainability. With sustained and focused investments, they are poised to transform their energy, transportation, food, and water systems and model the low-carbon, resilient economy needed in the 21st century.

For more information on the Climate Strong Islands Network, please contact Lauren Swaddell at swaddelll@triton.uog.edu.