Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Make a resolution for the environment

Published:Tuesday | January 10, 2017 | 1:00 AM

The following article was prepared by The United Nations Environment, Caribbean Office:

The year 2016 was one of awakening. The environmental community marked several victories and the world's populace became even more aware and involved in activities related to the preservation, conservation and sustainable use of the environment. Lingering on the lips of everyone was the effects of climate change and how we could reduce our carbon footprints.

Globally, the Paris Agreement has the commitment of 73 countries who have joined and 191 who have expressed an intention to join. Additionally, the United States of America and China have announced their plans to end the commercial sale of ivory in their respective countries.

At the UN Environment Caribbean Office, we were heartened to see this growing awareness, as the impact of our environmental activities (good or bad), for years, has either been ignored or of low priority. This sense of responsibility is a trend that we hope will continue in years to come.

Coincidentally, it is that time of year when goal planning and resolutions come into full effect.

As Caribbean nations, it may be time that we included one or two for the environment.

 

REGIONAL PROGRESS

 

From a regional perspective, we seem to be on the right track. We, too, have participated in the various conferences and agreements; the next step should be implementation of the resolutions adopted from these conferences with the inclusion of policy and policy improvements, as well as activities and projects which will ensure better management of resources, protection of our biodiversity/natural resources and improvement of our standard of living.

Preserving the environment is not only a national/regional responsibility but also a personal one. Having recognised this, it is our duty to make a life-long resolution to positively impact our environment.

Our management of environmental resources now affects not only the current economic, health and living standards of our countries and the region, but also our future. What Earth do we want to exist in as older persons? What legacy do we leave for our children?

Let us begin to assess our current activities and their possible impact on the environment.

Let us take special notice of those activities that may (directly or indirectly) endanger animals on land or at sea.

Let us identify where our waste materials go. Is there a proper waste management policy? Can we reduce, reuse, or recycle? Let us also consider what we now call 'waste' and see whether it is in fact better viewed as a 'resource' (e.g., paper, glass, used water) and therefore treated as such.

Let us consider our carbon footprint, as air pollution is steadily becoming a concern for the Caribbean.

 

TAKE ACTION

 

Let us investigate our energy use. Is it efficient or managed well enough? Are we tapping into possible alternative energy sources?

Once we have identified the areas in which we need to make adjustments, let us take action!

The Caribbean thrives on use of natural resources.

Any actions with environmental impact will have long-term effects for our access to these natural resources which will, in turn, affect sanitation and health, agriculture/fishing, productive industries and the overall economy.

The UN Environment Caribbean Office believes in a sustainable Caribbean. Working with the countries of the region, we know that we can help to preserve, maintain, improve and efficiently use our natural resources so that our environment and future keeps thriving.

This is our resolution for the environment. What's yours?

- The United Nations Environment, Caribbean Office, located in Kingston, Jamaica, is a subregional office of the United Nations Environment Programme. It promotes and enhances environmental sustainability in the Caribbean region. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and unep.caribbean