This Week: The Virtual Island Summit 2021 embraces islanders worldwide

There are several Big Things happening this week, that I should have already told you about. Island Innovation’s Virtual Island Summit is just getting under way. I believe this is the third. It is on all week (September 6 to 12) and it is free!

It is free and also truly global. I have tuned in to some of the events at previous summits, and it was a rich learning experience. There are many opportunities for worldwide networking, also, besides a variety of cultural interludes that add great value.

This year’s theme is: Sharing Knowledge for Resilient, Sustainable and Prosperous Islands Worldwide. The Summit will covers all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in addition to other topics that are very relevant to island communities.

You can find the full agenda for this week here, and I think recordings will be made available later; but the important thing is to join with islanders across the world, in real time. Browse through the sessions and read about the speakers.

Some of the Caribbean speakers during the Summit.

Here are a few events I plan to participate in – tomorrow!

“Save It from the Shore – A Circular Economy for Islands” Tuesday, September 7, 2 pm Eastern Time (1 pm Jamaican time): Island beaches reveal the increasing problem of marine plastic pollution, revealing the fact that what is carelessly thrown away turns up somewhere else, adding to the pressure on island communities to find sustainable ways of dealing with others’ waste as well as their own.

How might we think about waste differently? Can rubbish be reimagined as a resource?

In this session we hear about the challenges and opportunities some island communities have experienced in dealing with waste in different forms and explore innovative ideas for reusing and recycling materials.

This session is intended as an opportunity for knowledge sharing and discussion and presenters are invited to pose a question/problem/challenge to the rest of the panel/audience about island/marine waste.

Hometown Heroes: The People Making Thriving Blue Economies a Reality” Tuesday, September 7, 4 pm Eastern Time: Blue Economy is the buzzword on everyone’s lips, but what does it look like in reality and how do we get there? Join 4 ocean champions from islands around the world to learn about the behind the scenes work that goes into building a Blue Economy and lessons learned along the way. How can we create sustainable ocean economies that remain resilient in a changing world while ensuring that local communities and livelihoods are prioritized with economic prosperity? Followed by a Networking Session on Blue Economy.

“Island Stories: Salat se Rotuma/Passage to Rotuma” Tuesday, September 7, 7 pm Eastern Time: A series of short sessions where the audience can fully immerse themselves listening to personal accounts of island related narratives. In this session, Ngaire Fuata will tell the story of travelling to her father’s homeland for the first time — the beautiful, remote island Rotuma.

And that is only Tuesday! For the remainder of the week there is a wide range of topics to delve into, including clean energy transitions; innovation in education; food security and sustainable agriculture; environmental restoration; community leadership; climate and environmental justice; and much more. Something I also want to learn more about is “Why are the UN High Seas Treaty Negotiations important to the Caribbean?” (Thursday, September 9 at 4 pm Eastern Time). Yes, it’s a terrific learning opportunity and it is also interactive. There’s a film screening on Saturday evening – a Bangladeshi story. Truly something for everyone.

There is even a VIS 2021 Spotify playlist! What more could you want? You can add songs that represent your island’s culture, here.

Island Innovation is a one-of-a-kind non-profit founded by a young digital nomad named James Ellsmoor, and he has a dynamic team. You can sign up for their monthly newsletter here. There is also a Facebook group and an excellent LinkedIn group. You can also follow them on Twitter @IslandsInnovate.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Virtual Island Summit, this week!

An island within Lake Ann in North Cascades National Park, Washington, U.S. Islands are areas of land smaller than a continent and entirely surrounded by water.
(Photo: Astudillo/U.S. National Park Service)

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