The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) has just completed its second day in Paris, France. We are all (I trust) acutely aware of the significance of this Conference. Time has run out. It’s pretty much “make or break,” and firm commitments followed by action (with a minimum of posturing and geo-political bickering) are needed. Urgently.
For Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including those of the Caribbean, any agreement to allow global temperatures to rise by two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would be catastrophic. But by the end of this year, we will already have reached one degree above, according to some reports. We are certainly feeling the impacts across the region: changes in rainfall patterns (persistent drought), rising sea levels and higher temperatures being the most obvious; and scientists are seeing many other “ripple effects” in our ecosystems. So the Caribbean is insisting that “One Point Five to Stay Alive” is the only way. As Professor Michael Taylor of the University of the West Indies told us recently: “Two [degrees] is too much.” This is a challenging goal, but it is what we need to aim for to ensure our very survival.
The Conseil Régional of Martinique, the Caribbean Development Bank and the INTERREG Programme financed by the European Regional Development Fund have sponsored a Wider Caribbean Pavilion within the Blue Zone of the COP21 Conference venue. Here Caribbean heads of state and governments, negotiators, journalists, civil society representatives, artists and other delegates from the Caribbean will have their own space where they will be able to share the positions of the region, to showcase the efforts made by Caribbean nations to combat climate change, and to share information and opinions with others. If you are in Paris, please do visit.
Quoting from the I.5 website – which explains the Caribbean position very clearly, minus the jargon – the Caribbean has three key demands:
A legally binding agreement, applicable to all, ensuring that greenhouse gas emissions top at levels that will make the global average temperature limit its increases to well below 1.5° Celsius by 2100; A new climate change agreement to ensure adequate, predictable and accessible climate financing to support adaptation, mitigation and other climate change-related needs; For Loss & Damages to be adequately adressed in this new agreement.
Back in Kingston, Jamaica and across the Caribbean, citizens anxiously wait to hear what global leaders will decide in Paris. Efforts to raise awareness continue, through the creative and exciting “1.5 To Stay Alive” campaign. Here is one activity that happened in Kingston recently. This is Panos Caribbean’s press release – and you can find a link to the video on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wduj0BPLeYI
Flash Mob Spreads‘1.5 to Stay Alive’ Message
A group of Voices for Climate Change Education artists got together recently to create a spectacle inside Kingston’s Half Way Tree —all in aid of the‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ campaign.
The campaign, which has a variety of elements, including the mobilization of artists across the region, is intended to bolster the Caribbean position at the international climate talks, which got underway on November 30.
The participating artists included:
• Heather Harding, stage name ‘Boom Dawn’
• Stephan Bygrave, stage name ‘Colah Colah’
• McHuel Prince, stage name ‘Black Dice’
• Oneil Scott, stage name ‘Nazzle Man’
• Movack Hemmings; and
• Minori Russell
Russell kicked things off, yelling ‘1.5 to stay alive!’ Her act was followed by those of the other artistes, who themselves shouted ‘1.5 to Stay Alive’ before delivering a number of key climate messages. Those messages— all context-specific— included:
• ‘Fix the bus engine weh a pollute’;
• ‘Lock off the light and turn off the pipe when not in use’;
• ‘Stop light the Riverton dump’; and,critically,
• ‘Nuhweh no betta than yard’.
The ‘mob’ concluded with the performance of the theme song ‘ Global Warning’, which was authored by singer/songwriter Lovindeer, who is himself a member of the Voices for Climate Change Education group. The song was among six in a mini-album released in 2010.
Their actions — coordinated by a team from Panos Caribbean, which is handling communications for the campaign — drew the eyes of several people inside Half Way Tree on the evening of Friday, November 20.
“I believe in this project and climate change is near and dear to my heart so when this opportunity came up, I feel grateful to be a part of it, to show the world that we as artists really care about this cause,” said Colah.
Meanwhile, since its October launch, the ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ campaign has gained momentum, with the implementation of a range of activities — from the launch of its Facebook page and Twitter account (@1point5OK) that have attracted hundreds of followers to the ‘1.5 Selfie Video’ challenge (http://www.1point5.info/actscentral).
These are also a range of creative outputs from artists, including Jonathan Guy-Gladding out of St. Lucia, who has done a painting titled ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’.
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