Sun | Mar 18, 2018

'Climate-change education essential for local communities'

Published:Thursday | December 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Maria Mendoza
Protesters reinforce the need to keep global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius using photographs that tell human stories of the struggle with a changing climate.
A protester at this year's Marrakech climate talks shows a photo of a painting titled 1.5 To Stay Alive, done by Saint Lucia's Jonathan Gladding as part of the 1.5 To Stay Alive campaign, ran in the Caribbean last year to support the region's negotiating positions.
A group of protesters at the recent Marrakech climate talks advocate for, among other things, an end to support for fossil fuels.

Raising Public awareness is invaluable if local communities are to be engaged in the effort to meet the challenge of climate change.

This is according to former Venezuelan ambassador to Jamaica Maria Jacqueline Mendoza, who left office last year.

"We need to educate the people, to sensitise the people, to get the information down to them to get the opportunity to know what is happening," she told The Gleaner during the recent climate talks held in Marrakech, Morocco.

"People cannot participate in the solutions sometimes because they don't have the information," Mendoza added.

At the same time, she said civil society actors would need to mobilise to put appropriate pressure on decision-makers in order to help safeguard the success of the Paris Agreement.




"They have to organise themselves and require national governments to participate closer in this process," noted Mendoza, who is now secretary general for the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (Organisacion del Tratado de Cooperacion in Spanish).

"We are very happy the Paris Agreement was ratified ... . That means we can access more resources through international cooperation for projects in the Amazon with the people to address issues of adaptation and mitigation. This is a good thing for us. But at the same time, we can see that the result of this international agreement sometimes are not enough to cover the expectation of the people," she cautioned.

"The financial mechanism of the Paris Agreement (for example) is not yet clear for all the countries and sometimes the procedures are very bureaucratic and slow to achieve the funds that the countries, and especially developing countries, need to implement the convention in each country," Mendoza said further.

Ratified last month, the Paris Agreement is the new global deal to combat climate change, aiming for the "holding of the increase in global average temperature to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change".

Civil society, meanwhile, was out and active at the Marrakech talks, with various groups staging protests that reflected messages, including 1.5 To Stay Alive; Shooting for #1o5C: 100% Renewables; Survive, Thrive; Stop Funding Fossil Fuel; and Clean Coal Is a Dirty Lie.