by Sage Belgrave
In the past, climate change was portrayed as a distant concern for the Caribbean region. Melting ice in Antarctica and fires in the Sahara Desert were the images shown as the effects of climate change. However, in small islands across the world, including the Caribbean, physical changes are becoming evident. The rising sea level is not a myth, as islands in the Pacific Ocean such as Vunidogoloa in Fiji had to be vacated completely. This results in the loss of livelihoods and poses a threat to their culture.
In the Caribbean we have been experiencing an influx of sargassum seaweed in our seas and on our shores. This is not only aesthetically displeasing but also hampers marine life. Increased ocean currents are the causative agent which is related to the rising temperature of the ocean.
For generations, humans have heavily relied on fossil fuels for energy and we still do today. The problem with burning fossil fuels is the excess production of carbon dioxide that it produces. The influx of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, traps heat and therefore increases the temperature of the Earth. As such, our days are warmer and the ocean temperature is rising. Therefore, we must put systems in place that do not contribute to this fiery threat.
For as long as I can remember, solar water heaters have been a common sight in Barbados, as we use solar energy to heat water. Also, recently electric cars have been introduced to supplement carbon producing vehicles since these cars can operate without fuel.
I believe we ought to continue on this path so Barbados can be one of the most climate forward islands in the world. There is adequate yearly sunlight to power our entire homes, but what is absent is the will as a nation to embrace new approaches.
One of the problems with change in Barbados is that the energy producing companies are generally comfortable with the way they provide energy as it has been a reliable and lucrative money earner. However, these companies should be further encouraged to embrace green energy as it can develop new streams of income, whilst protecting our environment.
The first world countries are already way ahead on the green transition, and we should join this green revolution. With that being said, I would like to acknowledge my personal gratitude to local and global organizations that are advocating for the accomplishment of the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. I was a part of the Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador Programme this summer led by the International NGO Peace Boat where my knowledge of goals 13- Climate Action and 14-Life Below Water was broadened. I would also like to acknowledge UWIDP- (University of the West Indies Development Programme) for hosting Activate Talks which gives young people like me a platform to voice their views as well as learn from others. Both initiatives are evidence of Goal 17- Partnerships for the Goals and they highlight how pivotal working together is if we are to achieve these goals by 2030.
We can no longer afford to relax on our laurels as our islands are taken over by the looming effects of climate change. We must take climate action seriously by joining the green revolution and ensure a healthy Caribbean environment for centuries to come.
(Sage Belgrave 3rd year student at the Cave Hill Campus pursuing undergraduate studies in Chemistry. (Email: [email protected])