The Caribbean and climate change: Evil in paradise?
Is there an immediate lifeline for the lives of the more-than-40 million people who now lie in peril in the Caribbean? In no uncertain terms, the ravaging effects of climate change in the Caribbean are rapidly changing the relationship between people and their environment. If for anything, climate change is the model terrorist that is destroying lives and wreaking havoc and death in its path in the Caribbean. Beyond the sheer musings that climate change has now been translated into literary scripture by critics and pundits alike, the malevolent evil of climate change in the Caribbean now launches impetuously, flaming the ethereal sky with exposed ruins of a bottomless perdition, and the whole creation moans and travails in pain.
It is now evidenced that rising sea levels and recurring storms are plummeting pristine beaches into watery graves in the Caribbean. Swallowed up in endless wretchedness, climate change is causative to extreme weather, wildfires, drought, floods and hurricanes. Sinister flames are smoldering dark, revealing added sorrow and hopelessness to the livelihood of the people in the Caribbean.
Notwithstanding the fact that rising sea levels are affecting the poorest in the Caribbean region, coastal erosion and extensive damage to ports and airports are now noticeable. According to a World Bank study on climate change in the Caribbean, “Airports such as Melville Hall, in the island of Dominica; Maurice Bishop, in Grenada, and Hewanorra, in St. Lucia, are presently dealing with increased flood risk and sea level rise. In some areas of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an estimated 18 to 30 meters of beach has been lost over the last nine years due to the devastating effects of climate change.”
Moreover, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre further stresses that the projected costs to the region due to increased hurricane damage, loss of revenue to the tourism sector and damage to infrastructure could be US$10 billion by 2025, and US$22 billion by 2050. Economists further agree that the adverse effects of climate change could cost Caribbean countries up to 75 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2100.
Compounded to this is the fact that the evil of climate change is also having a deadly impact on food security and on the economies of Caribbean states. The Caribbean’s rising food insecurity challenge is further evidenced in declining intra-regional agricultural trade, a reduction in foreign exchange earnings and persistent poverty.
At this point, ensuring economic sustainability for Caribbean states requires improving economic resilience and developing a strategy for building resistance to shocks through adaptation to climate change. Precise knowledge, data and smart technology are urgently needed to facilitate the demons of climate change in the Caribbean.
Hence, the United Nations sustainable development goal 13 cannot remain mired in abstraction, as the devastating effects of climate change continue to wreak havoc on the lives of the people in the Caribbean. There must be a “coordinated and meaningful response” from the global community that requires immediate investment and policy changes. There must be a more profound objective and a global platform of co-operation to increase economic, social, environmental and technological resilience for Caribbean states, if the ambitious goal of 2030, as laid out by the United Nations sustainable development goal is to be achieved.
Therefore, the need to ascertain an economic resurgence and diversification plan for the Caribbean to fight the demons of climate change requires urgent attention, because climate change is having a devastating long-term impact on the growth and development of the smaller states of the Caribbean.
And yet, at the United Nations, where God and the Devil live alongside the mantra of climate change, the thirst for profit awakens the evil in the hearts of greedy capitalists hungry for fame and fortune. While they continue to distort the words and twist the syntax of climate change in order to gain agreements that support their filthy ways, their rehearsed hypocritical lines on climate change have now become holy writ; but there cannot be two opposite truths. Climate change is real. Climate change is either the devil incarnate or the result of greedy capitalists. Whatever climate change is or represents, the evil of climate change has entered the paradise of the Caribbean, and that which personifies evil is attempting to destroy a people, culture and heritage.
In all truthfulness, the evil of climate change has joined the realm of a destructive decay in the Caribbean. Here, swallowed up in the endless misery of hell, winged with red lightning and impulsive rage, the Caribbean is now a region of woeful shades where peace and rest cease to dwell. Floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous surges subsist. It is nothing but torture without end. Behold! The Leviathan of climate change sleeps on the foaming tides in revengeful ire. How can the Caribbean overcome the dreadful calamity of climate change? Who will save the Caribbean?
• Rebecca Theodore is the director of North American affairs for the Caribbean Israel Coalition, a non-profit organization that partners with Israel expertise, technology and investments to bring sustainable development to the Caribbean region. Published with the permission of Caribbean News Now.