As the Queen’s Baton 2010 Delhi arrived in Kiribati, which is set to become the first nation to disappear from the world map because of climate change, the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi reiterated its commitment to being the first Green Games in history and to create greater awareness about environmental issues.
While the world is confronting global warming and its consequences, Kiribati is fighting a losing battle for its survival. Indiscriminate destruction of forests, unplanned development and uncontrolled carbon emission has caused Kiribati to face the threat of becoming the first nation to be swamped by sea within this century.
Global warming will cause the sea to rise up to 19 inches in the Asia-Pacific region by 2070. The irony is that Asia-Pacific, a home to some of the world’s most impoverished and least equipped countries, which are making none or negligible contribution to the global warming will face its consequences more than other countries.
It has led to Kiribati urging the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, two developed countries in the region, to accept Kiribati citizens as permanent refugee since the island nation is expected to be totally submerged by the rising sea.
When the Kiribati citizens are facing a man-made calamity, the Queen's Baton for Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi reached there to reiterate its attempt to spread greater awareness about environmental issues. The baton has not only carried messages about the Commonwealth Games, Delhi and India but also one about it being the first ever Green Games.
Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi has taken upon itself the mission to host Green Games by using effective carbon emission mitigation, reduction and offset techniques. Its Green Games vision covers all the environmental aspects including Land, Energy, Water, Air, Carbon, Waste, Procurement and the most important task of Green Sensitisation.
The Queen’s Baton 2010 Delhi, which has travelled 115,831km across Commonwealth nations and territories in Europe, Africa, Americas and parts of Oceania before reaching Kiribati, has visited some of world’s most bio-diverse regions, and geographical wonders in world. And everywhere, eco-consciousness was the prime theme.
The relay also offers Kiribati a platform to attract the world’s attention to global warming and its impending threats. Kiribati’s President Mr. Anote Tong said in 2008 that the island nation had reached “the point of no return. To plan for the day when you no longer have a country is indeed painful but I think we have to do that,” he said.
This is a paradox since the sun is setting on a country that sees the sun rise on the world before anyone else. Then again, Kiribati may be the first to face the threat of disappearing from the world map, parts of South Asia are facing similar danger. The Commonwealth Games tries to break the shackles the world has imposed on itself and bring the Commonwealth together.