What Is It About Trees That Jamaicans Don’t Like?

Happy National Tree Planting Day! Many years ago, we moved into our house in what was then a relatively green, leafy area of uptown Kingston. Charles, who used to clean up our yard, insisted that we should cut down every single tree and bush. Otherwise, thieves and murderers would find places to hide behind them, … More What Is It About Trees That Jamaicans Don’t Like?

A Vision, and a Plan: Visitors from Medellin Partner with Residents to Help Build a “Liveable Community for All”

The recent tendency to redesign the city of Kingston (especially uptown areas) for automobiles rather than people is a deeply worrying trend. I have written and spoken on this topic many times in the past year or so, as have others. The so-called “Golden Triangle” (actually, Seymour Lands) is my neck of the woods. It … More A Vision, and a Plan: Visitors from Medellin Partner with Residents to Help Build a “Liveable Community for All”

Forget the Stinkin’ Toe Tree and Walk-Foot People: Kingston Is The City of the Automobile

Our capital city (and my home) of Kingston is upside down at the moment. There is a mania of “road widening,” which has resulted in the destruction of several large (and by large, I mean very old) trees and a concomitant increase in the amount of concrete. I have written several times about the deforestation … More Forget the Stinkin’ Toe Tree and Walk-Foot People: Kingston Is The City of the Automobile

The Garbage Must Go

I have been on a fairly long hiatus; my brother and his wife were visiting over the holidays from Australia. As often happens, we were acting as willing and enthusiastic tour guides/consultants during their stay. It’s always a delight having visitors. We wanted to show our guests all our favourite Jamaican places, and to explore some … More The Garbage Must Go

Jamaica, Sunday, May 15, 2016: One Point Five, Men in Hard Hats, Thumbs Down Queen’s School, #SaveGoatIslands

It has been a very busy and somewhat turbulent week – rather like the weather, which is sunshine in the morning and rain in the afternoon, with a bit of thunder and lightning thrown in. We are remembering that one year (and two years) ago, we were already deep into drought conditions. I for one … More Jamaica, Sunday, May 15, 2016: One Point Five, Men in Hard Hats, Thumbs Down Queen’s School, #SaveGoatIslands

Climate Change in the Caribbean: Talking, Planning and What NOT to Be Doing After the Paris Agreement

Earth Day came and went very quickly. A tremendous crowd of political leaders signed the Paris Agreement, and some fifteen countries (including five Caribbean islands) have already ratified it. I understand Jamaica will be ratifying the Agreement very soon. Some cynics have observed: “Oh, Jamaica is signing yet another international agreement! What difference does it make?” or words to … More Climate Change in the Caribbean: Talking, Planning and What NOT to Be Doing After the Paris Agreement

International Day of Forests in Jamaica: The Wood and Water Connection

The Taino word for Jamaica, Xaymaca, means “Land of Wood and Water.” The Tainos were describing tall trees, flowing rivers, splashing waterfalls. The two words fit together. Today (March 21) was International Day of Forests; and the theme is Forests and Water: Sustaining Lives and Livelihoods. What could be more important than the forest/water connection? However, the average … More International Day of Forests in Jamaica: The Wood and Water Connection

Fighting on the Home Front

From the outside, the Petchary family’s yard looks calm. Trees sway gently in the beautiful “Christmas breeze.”  Our magnificent guango tree – almost untouched by Hurricane Sandy – stands tall and strong, draped with our purple-flowering vine. The sweet sounds of Sigur Ros (my favorite band – Icelandic post-rock), Caetano Veloso and others float from the … More Fighting on the Home Front