Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Earth Today | World Environment Day theme reflected in planned climate-response projects

Published:Thursday | June 8, 2017 | 6:04 AM

BENEFICIARIES OF the Special Climate Change Adaptation Fund appear to have picked up on at least a thread of this year's World Environment Day (WED) theme, 'Connecting People to Nature'. Administered by the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), it provides up to $5 million in grants to local organisations for community-level climate-resilience building projects.

"'Connecting People to Nature' ... implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share," explains the UN's greeningtheblue.org of this year's theme for WED, celebrated on Monday, June 5.

Some EFJ grantees, who were awarded only last week, appear in sync with at least a portion of the theme's sentiment: 'to protect the Earth we share' against the changing climate.

"At Alligator Pond, buildings that provide livelihoods for residents, including fish-scaling sheds and commercial properties, have been destroyed due to acute erosion of the shoreline. The Manchester Parish Development Committee has received a $5-million grant to improve the drainage infrastructure and prevent further erosion," the EFJ revealed.

"Jamaicans recognise the need to conserve water, and the community of Ridge Red Bank, St Elizabeth, is no exception. This parish is prone to water shortages. The Community Benevolent Society will use its $4.99-million grant to provide a drip irrigation facility and to train farmers in water management, including rainwater harvesting," the entity added.

In Essex Hall, rural St Andrew, the need for water is great and a reflection of the theme would appear to hold. The $5 million received by its citizens' association will help provide treated piped water for residents' homes through the construction of pump stations, the provision of 200 water tanks and a public education programme on water conservation.

"Greenhouse farming is one way to combat climate change by controlling the environment in which crops grow, ensuring proper irrigation and reducing the need for pesticides. The Alpha Institute in Kingston, the recipient of a $4.4-million grant, will use the greenhouse as a training site for at-risk youth; while, in rural Jamaica, the Balaclava Development Committee will provide livelihoods for local youth with a J$3.7- million sweet pepper project using greenhouse technology," the EFJ said.

The UN site notes further, "this year's theme invites you to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it".

One clear example of this dependence is in relation to food.

"One of the major impacts of climate change is on food security. Will we be able to feed ourselves in the face of extreme weather? Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville will use its $5-million grant to set up a processing plant to produce flour from breadfruit, yam, banana and potatoes, powered by renewable energy sources," the EFJ said.

With its $ 4.9 million grant, the Jeffrey Town Farmers' Association is getting community members involved in a solid waste management programme that includes putting composting bins at three primary schools and six community demonstration farm plots, as well as the sorting of waste. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency will assist in the process.