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Issues related to climate change and rising sea levels dominated discussion at a World Environment Day forum held this Thursday, June 5, at Mote Marine, an event that included the unveiling of a new United Nations report detailing the challenges facing small island nations around the globe, many of them shared by coastal communities such as Sarasota. T h e f i n d i n g s a n d r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s of the report were s u m m a r i z e d b y Patricia Beneke, the director of the U n i t e d N a t i o n s Environment Pro- gramme's Regional Office for North America. The organization chose Sarasota as the site to release the report because of the many similarities between our region and the devel- oping island nations that are the subject of the new study. "Sarasota County has done wonderful work with respect to sustainable development and I think there are many lessons to be learned h e r e , " B e n e k e s a i d . S h e c r e d - i t e d t h e c o u n t y for seagrass res- toration projects, g r e e n b u i l d i n g Patricia Beneke, the director of the United Nations Environment Programme's Regional Office for North America, at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium's World Environment Day event. Photo by Cooper Levey-Baker SPLASH! RISKS FROM CLIMATE CHANGE, SEA LEVEL RISE JUST TWO OF THE TOPICS ADDRESSED AT THIS YEAR'S WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY NEWS The next 20 to 30 years are critical. Barbara Lausche Director Marine Policy Institute Mote Marine Laboratory By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor

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