Islands Diagnosis

Islands Diagnosis

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6002-9.ch001


In this chapter, the author provides an overview of the great challenges that islands are facing. It consists of an introductory part, raising environmental, economic, social, climate change, biodiversity, issues, etc. revealing the high risks to which island regions are exposed. It then discusses the way renewable energy exploitation can be a promising option for reaching sustainability objectives in general and coping with the above challenges in particular. This chapter exploits the information on peculiar challenges faced by islands nations with respect to sustainability, the proposed plans, challenges, and the issues raised by these challenges, the reaction in terms of projects and policy initiatives to cope with these challenges, and identification of sectors for paving a sustainable future of island nations. Despite the fact that numerous islands have presented and introduced target plans to advance renewable energy deployment, the policy design and execution is frequently lagging. Furthermore, there are still significant remaining things to be done.
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The origin of the word ‘island’ derives from a prehistoric Germanic aujō which denoted ‘land associated with water’, and was distantly related to Latin Aqua ‘water’. This goes to Old English īeg island, which together with ‘land’ form ‘īegland’. By the late Middle English period this had developed to iland, the form which was turned into island (Ayto, 1990).

There is no clear official definition for what constitutes an island nation. An island is characterized as a land mass totally encompassed by water. Land masses which are surrounded by water are refer to archipelago, key, reef, or rock. Islands are found in Oceans, Seas, Lakes and Rivers everywhere throughout the world.

There are different types of islands, in various shapes, of all sized and geographical attributes. Beate (2018) provided a comprehensive review and understanding of geography of small islands. Charles Darwin in his famous book “On the Origin of Species” (1859) was the first one who tried to categorise islands. Later in 1880, Alfred R. Wallace came up with a categorization of islands based on their geographical structure, differentiating between continental islands and ocean islands (Wallace, 2012). Since then many scientists tried to classify islands based on their genesis, but only few classification are based on the fundamentals of island formation such as: character of the underlying crust (Grigor’yev 2014). The geographer Christian Depraetere (2008) listed 86,732 islands with a size of more than 0.1 km2 and for islands below the size of 0.1 km2, the author applied fractal models, estimating an additional 700 million of islands to exist globally (Depraetere & Dahl, 2007). There are 193 sovereign states officially recognized by the UN (2016). From this 47 are island states, the largest one being Indonesia.

Some broad attributes of an Island comprise in unique species of animals and exceptional vegetation. For instance, Madagascar has a unique group of primates called lemurs. Giant Tortoises of Aldabra can be found in the Galapagos Islands, while the Komodo Dragon is found just on Komodo Island. Some are endemic which implies they are not to discover anyplace else. They don’t migrate. Such illustration is the white starling of Bali. Regarding vegetation, there are approximately 560 Species of Galapagos Plants living in the Islands, from which a third are one of a kind to the Islands. These include: giant prickly pear cactus, cheery-like tomato, an individual from the daisy family that privately advanced into 17 distinct Species (genus Scalesia) and so on. On Catalina Island, Catalina endemic Plants are Species that happen normally on the Island and no place else in the World.

A group of scientists at the Australian National University studying tiny grains of minerals say that 4.4 billion years ago, Earth was a barren, mountainless place, and practically almost everything was under water (Burnham & Berry, 2017). In the previous couple of hundreds of years, small islands were viewed as segregated ranges, in some cases served as military reservation, training purpose, for prisoners, immigration station and so forth. There is captivating hidden history for many of these islands. These days, islands are seen mostly as holiday paradises, being of high interest for worldwide tourism. Taking a look at the current trends in the tourism industry, islands are becoming increasingly popular, with TUI customers now spend their holidays on Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Maldives and so on (TUI Holiday Atlas 2016). For quite a long time, people living in islands cleverly harnessing their own resources to survive. A large proportion of these resources come from nature. They have dependably needed to create ingenious ways of harnessing the sun, wind, the biomass and the water available at their disposal. Looking back at the history, we can’t overlook how small waterfalls were ingeniously harnessed on islands as Corsica, Yakushima and so on; how wind power helped pumping seawater in places such as, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Djerba and so on changing them in wealthy centres of trade. Despite the ingeniously harnessing of natural resources, a significant number of island nations face significant challenges because of environmental change. These are discussed in the next section.

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