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Climate adaption – it’s the way to go

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Fri, Mar 9. 2012

Editor: Like it or not, ready or not: global climate is changing. And with it, our environment is changing as well; to the extent that our natural resources, well-being and livelihoods are adversely affected.{{more}} Considering our main economic sectors – tourism and agriculture – are primarily natural resource based, it is of paramount importance that more adaptive measures be planned and implemented. In other words, there is need to strengthen and improve individual knowledge and actions to become more “climate-smart”.

Of significance are the following questions: How can we create a prosperous but not wasteful Vincentian community? What is the best path to developing a sustainable economy? How can we reduce the vulnerability of our people while maintaining an acceptable economic growth rate and a high standard of living? If as a nation or as individuals we can answer these questions positively and convincingly, then the effort needed to pursue climate adaptation and become more resilient will be powerful and the path will be virtually smooth and straight. However, if not, we may well be exposing ourselves to the destructive and debilitating impact of climate change and variability.

This sound easy, and clear-cut, “eh”? As easy and straight-forward as it may appear, developing and executing climate-smart plans can be extremely demanding and complex. However, it is achievable. Any nation or region that can develop its capacity to cope with adverse impacts through providing sustainable opportunities for income generation, establishing a social safety-net and promoting symbiotic environment conservation and protection is well on the way to sustainable management and development. By such actions, it can be said that negative effects of climatic changes can be significantly minimized.

All of the above mentioned climate-smart ideas are currently employed, in one way or the other, by some individuals and national initiatives. However, when one considers this current period of economic downturn, the idea of adapting and/or coping with climatic changes may not be welcomed. In setting the record straight, it must be realized that climate change and variability exacerbate current health, geophysical and socio-economic conditions, and yes, national and regional political challenges. In other words, it affects us in virtually every way!

So, as the global environment gets hotter and our climate changes, not only does the natural environment become more hostile, threatening our wellbeing and livelihood, but we become more challenged to manage our space with each passing decade. Therefore, we as a nation and region MUST embrace adaptation planning related to water conservation, sustainable tourism, agriculture and energy, as well as their efficiency, and more as it relates to other natural resource based sectors. These initiatives WILL provide varying levels of “climate-smartness”, coping capacity and resilience. We can do this. We are creative, resourceful and we are Caribbean civilization adapting to a changing climate.

Neri James

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