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Caribbean: Blogging About Climate Change

October 15 is Blog Action Day 2009 and Caribbean bloggers are adding their voices to the global conversation about climate change.

Jamaican diaspora blogger Geoffrey Phlip puts the topic in perspective by starting off his post this way:

One of the persistent myths that should have been shattered by the discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin is that humans have a special place in the universe and that we were somehow separate from the rest of life on the planet. Nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact, our knowledge about the cosmic accident that created an evolutionary niche for mammals to flourish should have made us more appreciative of the fragility of life and the beauty that surrounds us–especially those of us from island nations like Jamaica.

He goes on to lament “the sad fact…that sometimes we don’t act as if we live in a place of beauty”:

The implications of the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere are the resultant climate change are grave…

Now while the problem of global climate change may seem insurmountable, I’ve always believed in the words of Margaret Mead: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.’

Fellow Jamaican Labrish says:

Two stories have really stuck with me this year about how climate change is affecting the marine environment: (1) the enormous infestation of invasive lionfish into the Atlantic and the Caribbean (2) the worldwide explosion of jellyfish swarms. Welcome to the seas that are biting back.

She explains:

Lionfish are endemic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans…with venomous spines and voracious appetites, sadly, they are now eating their way through the reefs of the Caribbean and the Atlantic. Researchers state it is ‘one of the most rapid marine invasions in history. Like a plague of locusts.’

Of the jellyfish explosion, she says:

The rise in large swarms of jellyfish in many areas across the globe may be linked to ocean acidity and the heating of the oceans caused by global warming. They survive and thrive in ocean dead zones and are an indication of an ecosystem that is out of balance.

The jellyfish and lionfish infestations are just more symptoms of the serious imbalance in the marine environment. Let’s hope the United Nations Meeting on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December will result in an ambitious agenda to reduce carbon emissions and set us toward a right path.

From Barbados, Sun Rain Or… faces a predicament:

Living on a small island in the Caribbean I swing lazily, like a hammock between coconut trees, between being concerned about Climate Change on the good days and feeling indignant about having to bother about it at all on the bad ones.

She explains her conundrum of being an artist who prefers to work with natural local materials:

How the hell I supposed to make authentic local creative products if I can’t use what’s in my own backyard? And, so who tell everybody use up all the wood and t’ings in the first place!?! Now people look at you like you’re a criminal if you use the same very things they’ve been using up so likrishly for so long. How is me uh?

I tired of all those powerhungrypoliticiansandwannabefamouspeople always making a fuss to look like they care and like they know what’s really going on, telling ME I have to change my ways or my front step will meet up with Atlantis. Yeah right, we can’t even tell if it’s going to rain this afternoon.

She sums up:

And the hammock comes to rest and I reluctantly accept I know one thing for sure; I don’t know how big a role we play in climate change, no-one is absolutely certain about that, but without a doubt, unless I poke out my eye to spite myself, I can’t help but see everyday and everywhere that what you and you and you…….and I do affects the place we all live in.

So just as every piece of garbage I drop makes a home for a mosquito or suffocates a turtle, every piece I pick up, dispose of properly, or best yet, stop from existing in the first place, removes the same problem. And just as all the little eddies and flows of the natural breezes and seas add up to our planet’s climate, so, it seems to me, all our little actions add up too.

Finally, from Trinidad and Tobago, A Caribbean Garden remembers that as a child growing up in the West Indies, “almost everyone had a kitchen garden and exchanged what they grew with neighbors and family. Almost every backyard had fruit trees. People bought their supplemental fresh fruits and vegetables from roadside stands and the Sunday farmers market. Farmers from different islands would also take or send their produce on boats to sell in the Sunday market.”

These farmers markets, the blogger concludes, hold tremendous value for environmental well-being:

While farmers markets have always been around in the Caribbean, I hope the Caribbean islanders take notes and expand their offerings. I also hope more people buy directly from local farmers. Apart from supporting local farmers and having fresher healthier and tastier food, farmers markets means less fuel is used in transportation, less pollution to the environment. And if it’s organic produce, even better. You certainly can't get fresh like this when its trucked/flown or shipped thousands of miles…

In the words of Geoffrey Philp, “Blog Action Day is only a first step. For if we do occupy a special place in the universe, it is because of our self-consciousness—the awareness of our mortality. This alone should propel us because it is only by our collective action that InI will save ourselves.”

3 comments

  • Missed one.

    http://www.opendepth.com/node/238

  • Mac

    Caribbean Climate Change Day of Action will be taking place on October 24th.,2009. The main event will be 350 Persons Planting 350 Trees in 350 seconds at 8:00am at Morgan Lewis Hill. This is being held under the auspices of the Future Centre Trust with the kind assistance of the regional International Day of Climate Action coordinators Caribbean Youth Environmental Network. The entire Caribbean is participating in this global event so says Mariama Branker the Caribbean Region Field Coordinator. This augurs well in bringing climate change issues and its impact on societies to the fore. Thus the Future Centre Trust is pleased to be associated with CYEN in promoting International Day of Climate Action. Invite your friends to come and be part of biggest envoronmental rally the world has ever seen. Contact me at 249-9100 to register your company or group to plant a tree. The Pessimist find excuses Winners find a way! Excuses….Too busy,Wrong Day I have heard them all.

    Kammie Holder
    Board Member The Future Centre/350 Project Coordinator

  • The Caribbean Youth Environment Network would like to thank everyone around the region who participated in the Caribbean Climate Change Day of Action as part of the International Climate Change Day of Action.

    17 actions across the Caribbean marked the day from Bahamas to Suriname. Coordinated through the chapters where CYEN operates around the region and in collaboration with other regional civil society organisations.

    CYEN is the Caribbean partner for the 350.org campaign. We have been working on climate change for over two years conducting workshops, consultations and training on adaptation and mitigation techniques of which Caribbean youth should be aware.

    Mariama Branker
    Caribbean Field Coordinator
    CYEN and 350.org

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