Environment and Climate Change News: June 25, 2017

So much news! My apologies for the delay in delivering these items to your doorstep… Please click on highlighted links for more details.

Jamaica and the Caribbean:

Our new, first solar power plant in Content, Clarendon. (Photo: Gleaner)

Jamaica’s first solar power plant! At last we have a solar power generation plant – in Content District, southern Clarendon. It has been built by Content Solar Ltd., a subsidiary WRB Enterprises of Tampa, Florida. The 20 MW plant should power some 20,000 homes. More, please!

International Reggae Day (July 1) is supporting the National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA) Million Tree Challenge (part of the UN Environment Programme’s Billion Tree Campaign). Have you planted your tree yet? You can register your tree online here.

The Cuban Trogon is Cuba’s National Bird. BirdsCaribbean will hold its 21st International Meeting in Topes de Collantes, Cuba from July 13 – 17. For more details, check out their website: birdscaribbean.org.

Overfishing and reef degradation threaten our fisheries: The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has just released two reports highlighting unsustainable fishing and the decline of coral reefs. Overfishing is noted as the primary cause of a decline in bony fish close to the shore, followed by coral reef degradation; invasive lion fish; and pollution and coastal developments, which threaten mangroves and seagrass. Read here the full report on the Caribbean: Conservation status of marine bony shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean

The Elkhorn Coral is listed as Critically Endangered. It is one of two endemic corals that are important for reef-building. (Photo: Noel Wingers)








DomRep bans shark, ray, parrot fish and sea urchin fishing: The Dominican Republic has announced a ban on fishing and trading of all species of sharks, rays, parrot fish and sea urchins within its territorial waters. The parrot fish ban is for two years, the sea urchin ban for five, and the shark fishing ban is indefinite. “More than anything, it is the people who must support us by not consuming these species in a ban and denouncing those establishments that do not comply with the measure,” said the country’s Environment Minister.

The LASCO-REAP Program’s achievements in the past academic year. (My photo)

LASCO-REAP prize giving: This was a big splash on June 6 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. Prime Minister Andrew Holness spoke at the prize giving for schools engaged in this great competitive environmental (and cultural) program, the brainchild of Stephen Newland of Rootz Underground. I am honoured to have been involved in it in the past year! It’s organised by a brilliant young team (the Idea Factory). The students and their teachers were equally brilliant – especially the “family team” from Fort George Primary and Infant School in St. Ann! Congratulations to all the schools, who did so well!

The Rest of the World:

Governor Jerry Brown of California met with the Chinese Premier recently.

China and California sign climate change agreement: The Governor of California, Jerry Brown, met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at an international clean energy conference in Beijing, where Governor Brown signed an agreement on cooperating to reduce emissions with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology. China is steadily reducing its consumption of coal – it is by far the world’s largest user.

…and U.S. cities pledge to lead in climate change fight: The U.S. Conference of Mayors, representing over 1,400 cities with populations of over 30,000 met in Miami recently. Its current survey of 66 cities in 30 states shows so far that 90% were interested in forming partnerships to create climate plans, implement transportation programs or procure equipment such as electric vehicles. The Mayors are strongly opposed to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams attended the Miami meeting.

Costa Rica’s new Marine Protected Area is the Cabo Blanco Marine Management Area on the Nicola Peninsula. (Photo: Fauna and Flora International)

Costa Rica expands marine protected areas: On World Oceans Day, Costa Rica announced a new marine protected area on its Pacific coast, expanding its marine protected areas from 12.7 per cent to 15.7 per cent. Costa Rica also hosted the Global Dialogue on Oceans (8-9 June), in Puntarenas. Earlier this year Costa Rica joined the UN’s Clean Seas campaign , which aims to reduce marine litter. Twenty countries have so far joined the campaign. What are you doing to turn the tide against plastic?

In this June 4, 2017, photograph, Pakistani people bathe in a canal to beat the heat and get some relief from the extremely hot weather during the eighth day of Ramadan. Maximum temperatures of 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius) have been recorded in Lahore, Pakistan. (Photo:Rana Sajid Hussain, Pacific Press, Lightrocket, Getty Images)

The heat is rising…especially for the tropics: A new international study estimates that by 2100, around three quarters of the world’s population will be living in areas where the climate exceeds threshold levels. Currently, around 30 per cent of the population are severely affected. According to an interactive map, south-east and south Asia as well as parts of Africa and Latin America will be seriously affected. This year so far, a heatwave (up to 53.5° Celsius) in India and Pakistan has caused many deaths. But even in Europe, deadly heatwaves are more common than many have realised. The tropics are especially at risk because of rising levels of humidity and small increases in mean temperatures can have a major impact in tropical countries, especially amongst the poor. What is a heatwave? Here are some answers.

Climate change hotspotsThis is a fascinating and detailed article on how climate change is affecting several places around the world. The conclusion is important, though… We are all connected.

The bottom line

Whether it’s faster than average warming, more vulnerable than average populations, or more severe than average drought, floods and storms, it’s clear that some places are being hit harder than others by Earth’s altered climate, and so face extra urgency when it comes to adapting to a new reality.

But the bottom line is that climate hotspots intersect, and nowhere will we escape the changes taking place. What happens in the Amazon affects West Africa; the North American growing season may depend on the melting of Arctic ice; flooding in Asian cities affected by warming on the high Tibetan plateau. And urban areas ultimately depend on the countryside.

We’re all in a hot spot now.

Don Trino, artisan fisherman of Cabuya, develops his fishing activity in a responsible way. He works in the new Marine Protected Area, which aims to safeguard the livelihoods of hundreds of fishermen and their families, as well as the rich biodiversity in Cabo Blanco National Park which includes humpback whales and four species of sea turtle (including the Critically Endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle).
Credit: CoopeSoliDar R.L 2014










4 thoughts on “Environment and Climate Change News: June 25, 2017

  1. You just keep slamming these updates out of the ballpark. Amazing.

    I loved seeing the Cuban Trogon.. lovely bird.

    Costa Rica was in the spotlight here; glad they’re taking an active voice and setting an example. I remember when the plastic bottled soft drinks ‘arrived’ there and there wasn’t a strong emphasis on saving each glass returnable bottle… If only we could all go back to recycling the bottles and not buying plastic plastic plastic…


    1. Haha! Thank you. I try… Isn’t the Cuban Trogon splendid? Yes, Costa Rica really seems to be trying to stay focused on eco-friendly activities and a “green economy” – our government could learn something from them. I remember the day in Jamaica when we switched from the old glass bottles that were returnable (a man used to come collecting them) to plastic. At the time I recall thinking this would not be a good thing. Now the whole island is clogged with them… Sigh. We are gradually becoming submerged in plastic!


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