Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Are We Ready For An Earthquake?

Earthquakes are natural disasters that occur when stresses that have built up along fault lines are released.  The recent earthquake in Nepal with a magnitude of 7.8 should be a wake-up call for us in Jamaica in ensuring that all our government agencies with direct responsibilities for earthquake management and relief are fully resourced and are ready to respond in the event of an earthquake. Jamaica is located within fault lines which makes the island very vulnerable to earthquakes. The last major earthquake to hit Jamaica was the Kingston earthquake of 1907 which destroyed a significant portion of the city and killed approximately 1,000. An earthquake of 7 on the Ritcher Scale is considered major and is capable of widespread damage and death as seen in the cases of Haiti in 2010 and Nepal in 2015. While Jamaica’s infrastructure is arguably better than of Haiti and Nepal we should never become complacent and disregard the destructive nature of earthquakes.
With so many unplanned settlements in Jamaica including squatting and the building of homes alongside gully banks due mainly to the lack of affordable housing, Jamaica and Jamaicans are at an increased risk in the event of a major earthquake.
Unlike hurricanes, which most of the population have some experience with the majority of the Jamaican population has no such memory and or experience and this will undoubtedly create panic and hysteria in the event of a major earthquake. We need to know for example where are the gathering areas in Kingston in the event of a major earthquake.
Disturbingly, many of our schools are at particular risks since, in many instances, earthquake drills are not done or not done on a frequent basis to prepare students for what they should expect and what they should do in the event of a major earthquake.
Jamaica is surrounded by a number of geological faults. In Eastern Jamaica there is the Plantain Garden fault that runs into the Yallahs, Blue Mountain, Wagwater and Silver Hill faults which together control the tectonics of the Blue Mountains block.
Jamaica is influenced by the South Coast, Spur Tree and Montpelier and Newmarket faults in Western Jamaica. Clearly, now is the time to revisit our earthquake preparedness plans.
It is not a matter of if we will get a major earthquake it’s a matter of when. As a result we now need to learn from the lessons from those who have experienced such destructive and devastating tragedies.

Wayne Campbell

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Each Of Us Can Make A Difference-Earth Day 2015

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Global warming and climate change are real and poses a serious threat to all living things. It is probably safe to say that most people now agree that the planet’s climate is heating up with devastating consequences. We continue to experience this phenomenon daily yet the global community has failed to garner the necessary support required to robustly address the issues of global warming and climate change.
Earth Day is commemorated each year on April 22. Earth Day aims to bring awareness and appreciation for the earth environment. Earth Day is that time of year when we pause and take note of the current status of our planet. The heighten awareness of Earth Day aims at implementing measures in an effort to try and reverse environmental destruction. Collectively we are all responsible for the dire condition of planet earth. We are very good at talk; however, we lack the fortitude necessary to put our talk into action.
Climate change has already had devastating impacts around the world, from typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines in November of 2013 killing thousands to the melting of glaciers in the North Pole which is contributing to the increase in sea levels which is threatening to flood out millions of homes. In other parts of the world the planet will likely be too hot for people to live. Clearly, we are in dire times and environmental action must be taken now to alleviate the pending destruction that is associated with climate change and global warming.
Most of the energy humanity uses is made by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and wood. This activity produces what is referred to as greenhouse gases, such as, carbon dioxide which then escapes and rises and gets trapped high above the atmosphere. This heat makes our planet warmer, like that of a greenhouse. This is known as global warming.
In Jamaica, the dry seasons are becoming hotter and lasting a longer time.  Warmer temperatures are associated with drought which affects our farmers, our food and water supplies. In fact, warmer temperatures may impact our national security. A country which is dependent upon imported food items to feed its people undoubtedly is at risk for social disturbance should there be a shortage of basic food supplies. There is clearly an association between having sustainable development and the protecting one’s environment.  
Each one of us can make a difference in protecting our environment for Earth Day 2015 and beyond. We do not need a degree in environmental sciences in order to become wardens of the environment. What we need is a renewed focus to begin looking at the environment as being ours instead of seeing the environment in the abstract.  We need to foster a culture of environmental awareness and consciousness among the population. The destruction of the environment continues to have a gendered approach. Most of the policies, programmes and plans associated with the annihilation of planet Earth are crafted in the minds of men. Despite having a female Prime Minister at the helm of government the Prime Minister cannot escape the patriarchal space that she is forced to operate in as her government puts forward any agenda that aims to protect the environment. 
Sadly, in times of austerity issues of the environment are usually sacrificed at the altar of perceived development.
However, all is not lost, this Earth Day go out and plant a tree and let your voice be heard. Some of us might prefer to lobby our respective governments to respect the environment by protecting the forest and water shed areas, as well as, creating green spaces in the battle to preserve what is left of the environment. Yet there are those among us who might prefer to use recyclable containers to store food items. There is so much than can be done. No one person can take on the environmental fight; it requires a collective effort from all humanity. Additionally, we need to teach environmental education in our schools in order to stir the consciousness of the next generation of Jamaicans
The Jamaican focus on climate change should include coastal towns, for example, Portmore in St.Catherine, as well as areas of St. Thomas. The time is now for us to move swiftly and decisively in order to seriously address the issues of climate change and global warming even amidst our economic constraints.
"All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous

weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate

over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it's here, and its effects are giving rise

to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster". 
- President Barack Obama

Friday, 17 April 2015

Jamaican Proverbs

"Same bird weh carry news come, a de same bird tek eh back".
Simply put the same individual who bring you gossip is the same person who will take your business and spread it to the public. We should avoid those individuals who display such behavioural traits.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Leadership and Stewardship

There is a day of reckoning for all of us when we will be required to give an account of our actions, regardless of our position in this life. Leadership and stewardship are two very critical issues that should never be taken lightly. To those who are currently in leadership take a step back and assess your stewardship. Ask yourself questions such as, have I done my best given the resources available for the task? Have I led anyone on the wrong path? Have I compromised my position? To those who aspire to leadership take the time now to prepare yourselves spiritually and emotionally for this journey.To whom much is given much more is required of that individual to serve humanity.
God is not mocked! whatever you sow you and or your children will certainly reap.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Crucifixion of Jesus-Luke Chapter 23 verses 23-56

And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.
And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.
But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.
Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.
And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.