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Being independent in a changing climate

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Tue, Oct 16, 2012

Editor: It is with great pleasure that the author wishes the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines a Happy 33rd Anniversary of independence, as we look forward to an exciting and productive future. I also wish to congratulate this state on its hosting of the meeting for “Ministers with responsibility for Environment and Sustainable Development in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States”.{{more}} As island independent developing states facing tremendous global challenges, it is extremely encouraging that regional organizations, such as the OECS secretariat, not only recognize the importance of sustainable developmental efforts, but also to rally the region as it adapts towards the negative impacts associated with climate change and other challenges.

There is no doubt that the result(s) of the above mentioned meeting will further consolidate the region’s efforts towards a more sound and sustainable future. In a previous letter submitted by the author, a call was made for the region’s people to re-think climate change adaptation strategies. The challenges are ours (as a small island developing independent state) to look at global challenges as opportunities. The critics may comment that this concept is not practical; however, the opportunity is mine to further explain this point. Gone should be the days when climate change is looked at from a negative perspective. It should now be viewed positively as a phenomenon where niche areas can be fully exploited. The opportunity is therefore ours to use available resources to enhance lives, living and livelihoods.

Global challenges, particularly those of an environmental nature, provide numerous opportunities. With the need to reduce carbon footprints or reduce fossil reliance, there are numerous openings available in the renewable energy sector. Some small developing islands have formed strategic alliances with other more developed states in the manufacturing and sale of renewable energy products. The tourism sector can embrace sustainable tourism approaches, one of which is eco-tourism, instead of mass tourism. Of course, the list is not exhausted and the author did not intend to provide detail on the positive benefits posed by climate change.

Being an independent state for 33 years, there has been, among other things, a noticeable development in the richness of our bright minds and the positive impact such minds have made on a local level and beyond our borders. It is the hope that as SVG celebrates its independence, the people of the region will experience our unique cultural practices and be assured of our support towards a unified approach as we join with them to manage a changing climate.

Neri James

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