In celebration of Earth Day, the US Embassy – Palau showcased the works of two individuals that help to capture carbon and help make a difference at the residence of the US Charge D Affairs James Boughner in Ngetkib, Airai.
Dr. Richard MacKenzie, Climate Fellow, and a scientist spoke about the contribution of mangrove forests and their critical role in absorbing and storing carbon and helping our planet from heating up too quickly.
Although mangrove forests combined are less than 1% of world oceans, they store up to 70% of the carbon, explained Dr. MacKenzie of the importance of mangrove forests to manage climate change.
“Blue carbon is now the buzzword, a big thing, but it started here in Palau,” said MacKenzie of where the phrase blue carbon came from and referring to the research here in Palau that looked at how much carbon is stored by mangrove forests.
The physical, biological, and chemical characteristics of mangroves make them unique and, at the same time, the most effective and efficient carbon sinks there are.
Amber from the US Forestry Service discussed proper ways to treat the soil, minimizing the release of carbons into the atmosphere while making the soil richer and more productive.
The United States has proactively protected the world environment since before the 70s, explained Charge D’Affairs James Boughner. “The First Earth Day was in April 1970. Because there was no EPA, Clean Air Act, or Clean Water Act. There were no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment. In spring 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a way to force this issue onto the national agenda.”
This year’s Earth Day theme is “Invest in Our Planet.” In his Earth Day Declaration, President Whipps said, “The Republic is calling for more innovative solutions to address the ecological impacts of unsustainable activities and to protect all life in Palau. Sustainability will only be achieved by meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.”
The presentation of both individuals will be at Ernguul Park today as World Earth Day is celebrated this year.