Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Treasure Beach on the climate-smart fast track

Published:Saturday | August 25, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Seen on the entry sign, Treasure Beach recycles - an initiative that grew out of a school competition.
National Water Commission Water Production Manager Lester Morgan shares a point with the group at a workshop on the preparation of a disaster risk management plan held in Treasure Beach in July.
Environmental Solutions Ltd consultants in dialogue with Elliston Deleon (centre) of the government's Fisheries Division & the Greater Treasure Beach Citizen's Alert Group and Treasure Beach fishermen earlier this year.
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Treasure Beach is the first Jamaican community out of the blocks to take up the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator's challenge. Stakeholders are keen for Treasure Beach to be a climate-conscious community.

Fishing, farming, and community-based tourism are the way of life in the rural, coastal community in St Elizabeth. Here, development must be sustainable. It is the only option. And steps have been taken in recognition of this reality.

"We have been working in Treasure Beach for two years with our Crayons Count early childhood pilot project. This is a tight-knit community on the climate-change front line, where the lives and livelihoods of the residents are inextricably linked to the environment. Resilience is embedded in the culture. So with the support of the community, we applied for a grant to give the residents tools to become more resilient, adapt, and grow," explained Deika Morrison, co-founder of Do Good Jamaica.

Through the Special Climate Change Adaptation Fund - AP&FM Project PPCR - Do Good Jamaica received a grant from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) to do just that.

In explaining his support for the project, Jason Henzell, chairman of Breds Treasure Beach Foundation and Jakes Hotel, said: "Since it was founded in 1998, Breds Treasure Beach Foundation has been working to ensure that this special corner of Jamaica is developed in a sustainable manner. Partnering with every member of the Treasure Beach family to protect our environment is integral to that goal."

 

MAINTAINS ALLURE FOR VISITORS

 

So far, the grant has facilitated the creation of a vulnerability and capacity assessment and disaster risk management plan by professional environmental consultants. This process involved soliciting the experiences and perspectives of a broad cross-section of community and government stakeholders.

Given the recent announcement of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator (CCSA) initiative to make the region the world's first climate-smart zone, the project is timely as the objectives of the Accelerator align with the community's vision of sustainability.

"As Jamaica's home of community tourism, Treasure Beach embraces initiatives that maintain its allure for Jamaican and overseas visitors. Most recently, Treasure Beach became one of Jamaica's first recycling communities. The conscious traveller knows the significance of recycling and conservation and values those programmes in a destination. We are fully on board!" said Rebecca Wiersma, chairman of the Treasure Beach Destination Management Organization and Owner of Treasure Tours Ltd.

The next step in the project will see Do Good Jamaica accelerating climate-change awareness with outreach tailored to Treasure Beach's diverse demographic groups.