Environment/Climate Change News, July 24, 2016: Grenada’s Blue Economy, Record Temperatures, Mangrove Restoration


Here’s my regular “Top Ten” of local and global news on the environment. Something for everyone! Please do share any of these stories you find of interest. I have embedded the links, so you can just click on the highlighted word or words. I am afraid the global news is not very cheerful!

Jamaica/Caribbean

Holland High School Biology students plant mangrove seedlings that they have been growing for the past 8 months. (Photo: Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation)
Holland High School Biology students plant mangrove seedlings that they have been growing for the past 8 months in Falmouth, Trelawny, where a large area of mangrove forest was destroyed when the cruise ship terminal was built. (Photo: Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation)

Students restore local mangrove forests: Here’s a really nice blog post by Amy Heemsoth, Director of Education at the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, a non-profit ocean research foundation established in 2000 by Prince Khaled bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia. J.A.M.I.N. almost sounds like the Bob Marley song, but it’s the acronym for the Foundation’s Jamaican Awareness of Mangroves in Nature program, a year long environmental awareness education project for youth developed alongside the University of the West Indies (UWI) Discovery Bay Marine Lab. Now the Foundation has started B.A.M. (Bahamas Awareness of Mangroves) in Abaco. Students grow seedlings in their classroom and then plant them in areas where they have been destroyed. The program includes professional development for teachers (project-based learning, evaluation and development).

“Government is not doing enough to protect the environment”: So says CEO and founder of the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) Diana McCaulay as she reflects on the 25 years of environmental activism. JET celebrates its 25th anniversary today. McCaulay commented in a Jamaica Star article: “I think we talk a good talk, but we often hear our politicians talk about making big changes, but it actually doesn’t play out to protect the environment. A lot more can be done, but we need the help of everyone to make a greater impact to improve the quality of our environment.”

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Rethinking waste management: The Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) will present its report on the privatization of the National Solid Waste Management Agency (NSWMA) tomorrow evening (Monday, July 25) at 6:00 p.m. at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston. Do go along and hear what their findings are.

A trillion-dollar opportunity: The World Bank estimates that the market for low-carbon investments in Latin America and the Caribbean will be $1 trillion by 2040, with $600 billion materializing by 2030! What are we waiting for? Let’s move towards the green economy now!

Grenada hosted a Blue Growth Conference in May this year, supported by the Blue Network which comprises a number of international agencies and governments. (Photo: nowgrenada.com)
Grenada hosted a Blue Growth Conference in May this year, supported by the Global Blue Network which comprises a number of international agencies and governments. (Photo: nowgrenada.com)

Grenada’s Blue WeekGrenada is committed to growing its Blue Economy. As we know, our oceans cover more than seventy per cent of the Earth’s surface, and what could be more important to us in the Caribbean than our marine environment? The island joined the Global Blue Network in 2014, following the Global Oceans Action Summit and is now looking at around US$30 million in “blue” growth and innovative practices. The Blue Innovation Institute in Grenada, a new global body focused on innovation in blue growth, is to be established. Well, there is a place called True Blue in Grenada!

World

Dr. Kriss Kevorkian began to develop her theory of environmental grief after being affected by the decline of the orca population in Puget Sound in Washington State.
Dr. Kriss Kevorkian began to develop her theory of environmental grief after being affected by the decline of the orca population in Puget Sound in Washington State.

What is “environmental grief”? This is a term coined by Dr. Kriss Kevorkian, based in Washington State. She actually specializes in death and grieving. It sounds rather depressing – but she has a theory that many of us humans are experiencing “the grief reaction stemming from the environmental loss of ecosystems by natural and man-made events.” It is an unacknowledged, “disenfranchised” grief that we feel but do not openly express. There is a theory that this is preventing us from taking the necessary action on climate change and the care of our environment. We are frozen and helpless. Wow. Here’s how Scientific American describes Dr. Kevorkian’s theory.

The UK's new Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom wants to repeal the ban on fox hunting. (Photo: Getty)
The UK’s new Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom wants to repeal the ban on fox hunting. (Photo: Getty)

Politicians and the environment: I read several worrying articles about the current crop of politicians’ attitude to our environment. The new President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has said he will not honor the Paris Agreement on Climate Change signed last December. He says limits on carbon emissions for his country are “nonsense,” since it accounts for less than 1 per cent of emissions. That’s understandable for a developing country; but then we have the new Environment Secretary for the UK Andrea Leadsom, who reportedly questioned (last year) whether climate change was real. She also supports fox hunting and the selling off of what’s left of Britain’s forests. And then, of course, there are the Republicans in the United States (not in power of course, and hopefully will not be), who want to repeal President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (and in fact all his climate change-related initiatives) and halt funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The black line at the top shows 2016 global temperatures in terms of the degrees Centigrade difference from the 20th century average. (Graph: NASA)
The black line at the top shows 2016 global temperatures in terms of the degrees Centigrade difference from the 20th century average. (Graph: NASA)

Record temperatures – again: The global climate broke new records in the first half of this year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports. June 2016 marked the 14th consecutive month of record heat for land and oceans. It marked the 378th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average. The last month with temperatures below the 20th century average was December 1984. “Another month, another record. And another. And another. Decades-long trends of climate change are reaching new climaxes, fuelled by the strong 2015/2016 El Niño,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

The Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota has a fantastic website called Food Matters, with articles on several topics related to agriculture and the environment: water, food waste, food security and climate change. Interesting reading.

The beautiful Snow Leopard lives in the mountains of Central and South Asia. It is listed as endangered. (Photo:Photo: Tom Brakefield / Getty Images)
The beautiful Snow Leopard lives in the mountains of Central and South Asia. It is listed as endangered. (Photo:Photo: Tom Brakefield / Getty Images)

The amazingly beautiful country of Bhutan is one of the few countries in the world with negative carbon emissions. Conservation of the natural environment is one of the four pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness creed (I wish Jamaican had one!) But global warming is impacting key species such as the snow leopard and causing the melting of glaciers, which could affect neighboring India negatively.


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