Wed | Apr 8, 2020

Jamaicans finally getting the climate-change message

Published:Saturday | November 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Environment Minister Robert Pickersgill said he believes Jamaicans are getting the message about climate change and adaptation.

Pickersgill was giving an update yesterday of the Government of Jamaica/European Union and United Nations Environment Programme Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project. Parishes covered include St Ann and Manchester.

The project is administered by the Environment Management Division and the Meteorological Service. He agreed the language and vocabulary of the issue was 'heavy', but said he was impressed with the ordinary man's response, artistes like Lloyd Lovindeer even putting the information into songs. He was also impressed with the students.

"Speaking with schoolchildren, they are more acquainted with the words than the adults. They also know the dos and don'ts." He stressed the need for more education on the topic and said it was easy to teach the country because there were clear examples to refer to.

"We had an experience with The Ritz-Carlton where it had to be closed because of the (land) slippage and all the mud that came down because of deforestation," he said. "How much money was lost because of the deforestation?"

very receptive people

Gail Hoad, project consultant, said the people have been very receptive as they are noticing the climate changes and are coming to grips with it.

"People understand what is happening. They are feeling the warmer temperatures, they are seeing the water shortages, they are seeing the impact of more intense hurricanes," she said. Hoad explained that the project organisers have tried to show data from the researchers that correlate to people's everyday experiences, helping to get the message across. Hoad said one result of the workshops is that persons are very eager to pass on what they have learned.

"Some of the private-sector groups ... we found people to be very receptive to the information. they are interested in finding out what is going on and what the impacts are going to be for their business," she added." She said the project will also help people learn how to adapt to the changes and equip them to do so.

So far, the project has gone to six parishes with St Elizabeth and Trelawny the next to come this month. The team liaises with the parish councils to decide the appropriate strategy per parish.

"We also have public events where we work with the Voices for Climate Change Education artistes and PANOS Caribbean," she said. "We have big concerts where we try to paint the messages of environmental protection."

The Voices for Climate Change also promotes the project's upcoming events and other climate data on its Facebook page.

'People understand what is happening. they are feeling the warmer temperatures, they are seeing the water shortages, they are seeing the impact of more intense hurricanes.' - Hoad