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Bahamas must make climate change a priority

Dear Editor,

The Bahamas is among the countries facing the most devastating fallout from climate change in the immediate future, yet we are not taking the risk seriously enough. We as a low-lying island nation should be at the forefront of the efforts to reverse this terrifying phenomenon – our short-term survival literally depends upon it. Yet we are not even holding our own, as evidenced by this week’s announcement that we have slipped a full five places – from 93rd to 98th – on the Environmental Protection Index (EPI).

Although some work has been done to designate national parks and protected zones, we have not been aggressive enough in that regard. For some reason, it would seem that our political leaders lack a sense of urgency when it comes to an issue that is very urgent indeed.

The Bahamas government must work with the Bahamas National Trust to designate more protected areas, starting with the crucial area already agreed upon in North Bimini, and the sea park that is desperately needed in Clifton Bay. It must move swiftly to pass a comprehensive Environmental Protection Act that is in line with cutting-edge research on issues such as climate change and global warming mitigation strategies. Finally, the government must take meaningful action in an effort to live up to the many international preservation protocols to which we are signatory, as well as sign on to those meaningful agreements to which we have thus far abstained.

Soon, every country in the world will feel the terrible wrath of climate change, but countries like The Bahamas are first in the firing line; we are the low-hanging fruit that will be taken first by drastic sea level rises and monster super-storms. The world will only change course if enough people point to a new way. The Bahamas must stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.

– Joseph Darville, chairman, Save the Bays

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