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. ”
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
"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
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