Diplomatic Notes

Climate change and The Bahamas

There is a sense of global urgency in many quarters regarding the effects of climate change and the issue is finally attracting more attention in The Bahamas, as it should. For years, there was an ongoing debate about the reality of climate change and global warming, but it seems the reality is now setting in and there is less disagreement about climate change being a reality.

In The Bahamas, the signs are quite clear. Winters are warmer, the summers are hotter and the storms are more violent. We are a small country with a limited global voice but we must use the voice we have to sound the alarm on the global stage. We have begun this process, but there needs to be louder voices and more concerted action at home on this issue. We have been slow to act when it comes to green energy – particularly solar energy. We are behind many other regional countries when it comes to solar integration and this should not be the case. Many countries in the Caribbean have envied The Bahamas for being ahead of the curve, but we have allowed ourselves to fall behind in this area and it’s time to catch up.

For whatever reason, solar energy has been given lip service approval but not substantive endorsement and encouragement. We must actively push for solar integration into the grid and for persons generating excess energy to be compensated. We must begin to educate our children and youth on this issue and cause them to become partners in the fight. The time is not for us to make a difference.

One of the most important understandings about our planet is that everything for Earth is on Earth and nothing new will be introduced to Earth. If we do not take care of our environment, there is no replacement environment and no alternative. The Bible speaks of seed time and harvest, hot and cold, summer and winter as always being with us. In Genesis, God asked man to take dominion which means to rule and manage. Whatever we do not manage will be taken away from us; and whatever we manage properly will bring a return to us. It is that simple. We have no one else to look to – no one else to blame. It is our responsibility and we alone will bear the benefit or consequences.

Management of the environment is a collective process. We cannot ask the government to do it or some conservation group like the Bahamas National Trust. Everyone who has a yard, a house, a car or anything that affects the environment must manage effectively. We must be careful of toxic waste and products that are pollutants. We must plant trees and flowers. We must get rid of plastic and ensure that hazardous items are not dumped in the ocean. We cannot get another ocean, so we have to take care of the one that we have. If it is to be, it’s up to me (us).

I have decided to do my part, but I am only one individual. We all have to make the same decision. The change we want to see is in the mirror. We must continue to promote organic farming and avoid farming utilizing harmful pesticides. The introduction of these hazardous substances has led to the multiplication of diseases and conditions that kill us over time. We are now seeing more diseases than ever before. The time is now for action and the debate should be over. The only debate should be on the most effective means of addressing climate change, not whether it exists.

• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to
pastordaveburrows@hotmail.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.

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