Earth Day (April 22) is fast approaching, and Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has produced two out of three parts of a special PSA to remind us that we need to remain vigilant to ensure that our precious Cockpit Country remains fully protected. Please watch and share these PSAs on YouTube and your social media.
P.S. We need that buffer zone! Unsustainable human activities such as mining and quarrying are nibbling away at the edges.
JET Releases “Save Cockpit Country PSA for Earth Day 2019
The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) is pleased to announce the release of its latest production under the Save Cockpit Country campaign. The new public service announcement (PSA) from JET is the second in a three-part series highlighting the importance of the Cockpit Country. The episode was released by JET via its social media network on April 18 ahead of Earth Day (April 22).
“The second PSA outlines the role of ground-truthing in the process towards the declaration of the Cockpit Country Protected Area under law,” said Suzanne Stanley, JET CEO. “Each episode has a different theme – the first episode highlights the important water resources, biodiversity, forests and communities Cockpit Country supports.”
The JET Save Cockpit Country PSA series is hosted by 10-year-old Amirah Dixon, a student environmental leader from Marjam Prep in St Ann. Amirah has been participating in JET’s Schools’ Environment Programme through Marjam Prep’s Green Kids’ Club since 2014. Episode 1 of the PSA series features Amirah exploring the rugged terrain of Cockpit Country on foot.
“Cockpit Country is water…Cockpit Country is people…Cockpit Country is Jamaica’s Heartland,” the young narrator exclaims.
In Episode 2 Amirah explains that ground-truthing confirms what features along the boundary should be included in the Cockpit Country Protected Area (CCPA). In the PSA Amirah asserts that if any big changes are made to the protected area boundary, Jamaicans should be told why.
“Every Jamaican should be following the process to protect Cockpit Country – so much is at stake,” says Amirah at the end of episode 2. “Until ground-truthing is complete, the Cockpit Country cannot be protected under Jamaican law,” she continues.
On November 21, 2017, Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Rt. Hon. Andrew Holness announced the designated CCPA boundary in Parliament. In his announcement, Prime Minister Holness said the area would comprise of approximately 74,726 hectares and will include existing forest reserves, significant hydrological and ecological features and cultural and heritage sites. The Forestry Department has been tasked with ground-truthing the CCPA boundary, which it has scheduled to be complete in early 2020.
Through its Advancing the Protection of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country project, which began in May 2018, JET has been advocating for an expedited ground-truthing of the CCPA boundary and the involvement of civil society and local communities in management planning for the protected area.
“The series’ aim is to keep the conversation about the protection of Cockpit Country going,” said Stanley. “The final episode will be released in May and will feature testimonials from Cockpit Country residents who live in communities where bauxite mining is taking place just outside the designated protected area,” she continued.
Since 2018, JET and Cockpit Country communities have been advocating that a buffer zone should be established around the CCPA to ensure that important groundwater reserves in and around Cockpit Country remain intact. They assert that activities which will damage the natural environment, important cultural and historical sites, and local livelihoods should not be allowed within this buffer zone, including quarrying, mining, and prospecting.