It’s a cliché, I know, but we need to remind ourselves, yet again: Climate change is here, and now.
What more proof do we need than the second long, arduous summer of drought here in Jamaica: fields full of crops, shriveled and dying, and the tap making that dry, rasping sound when no water is coming out. We have even been quietly hoping a tropical storm would brush past us, so that we could have a couple of days of rain. When the storms do come, they bring devastating floods, as with our neighbors in Dominica this year; next year it could be our island. Then there is the severe coastal erosion, destroying our beautiful beaches; and the contamination of our groundwater aquifers with salt water, near to the coast.
One thing I don’t think Jamaicans have grasped fully is that we each have a responsibility, as individuals and/or as members of organizations, to try to ease the impact of climate change and to prevent it from worsening, in our little “neck of the woods.” This means, simply, acting as stewards for the environment. It starts with the small acts. Get yourself informed, first! Don’t burn garbage; conserve energy; harvest rainwater; do more carpooling; plant more trees; recycle everything you can.
Then there is collective action. One way in which you (and the organization you belong to) can join with others and voice your concerns over climate change is to join Jamaica’s FIRST Climate Change Walk. Hosted by Environmental Solutions Limited (ESL) in partnership with the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, it will take place on Saturday, October 24, 2015 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Emancipation Park in Kingston. It’s a 4K walk for health and wellness. For the Caribbean and most developing countries, climate change is a major public health issue – let us keep this in mind; water shortages, for example. There is NO registration fee but… donations are requested (suggested donations: J$1,000 for individuals and for companies J$10,000 or J$20,000 – but all donations are of course welcome!) ALL proceeds will go towards providing and implementing rain water harvesting systems in identified vulnerable communities.
The organizers have a great concept for the walk: If you want to make up a group you can choose between a Band for Food, Energy or Water. Groups are encouraged to be as creative and fun as they wish to get their message across, with T shirts, banners etc.
Everyone is invited! From babies to grandmothers/fathers… as an individual or group. By the way, last year’s global Climate Change March was huge, with many thousands of people in 162 countries involved (400, 000 in New York alone). Let’s make this a memorable and meaningful and inclusive event. Get your church, your community association, your youth club, your school, your NGO, your employers, your classmates, your company, your neighbors and friends involved!
For further information, take a look at the Climate Walk website: http://www.jaclimatewalk.com, where you can download a Registration Form, and at the Facebook page. You can also contact the organizers directly on the website.
“We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last that could do anything about it.”