Artistes lift voices for climate change
Avia Ustanny, Gleaner writer
Twenty-one popular and upcoming artistes will hit Montego Bay next Thursday to take part in two days of activities being organised by key environmental agencies to mark Earth Day while raising awareness on biodiversity, climate change and disaster risk reduction.
The artistes participating include One Third, Pam Hall, Amique, Pampi Judah, Minori, Colour Colour, Free the Ghetto Youths, Big Pop, Nozzle Man, Cameal, Richie Ramsey, Vigorous John, K'alee, Shane and Boom Dawn. Emcees Darion Palmer and Audrey Reid.
"Climate change and environment issues is something I have always wanted to be a part of," said new addition to the Voices for Climate Change Artistes, Aaron Silk. "I am looking forward to the performance and touring the Marine Park which will be a first for me, and just being around my fellow artistes and the people involved in all this. I am open for learning."
Silk along with fellow artistes, Lymie Murray and Vigorous John are new additions to the Voices for Climate Change Education Project being implemented by Panos Caribbean and the National Environmental Education Committee. The three-year-old project has been using innovative ways to raise awareness about climate change, including working with 27 popular artistes as climate champions. In late 2011, the project was named as a communi-cation best-practice project by the United Nations.
Next Thursday and Friday, the artistes will be involved in a variety of activities. On Thursday, there will be:
A business lunch with the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, local political representatives and technical specialists.
A media climate change and disaster risk reduction session for media in St James
A parish outreach/town hall meeting and mini exhibition to engage Montego Bay's citizens on the issue of climate change. It will be held at the Montego Bay Civic Centre starting at 6 p.m. The public is invited to discuss climate impacts with parish council representatives and other key stakeholders.
A free Earth Day concert at Dump Up Beach featuring the Voices artistes
And on Friday:
Visits to four schools (Corinaldi, Flankers, Barracks Road and Howard Cooke Primary). The visit will include planting trees at the schools.
A media and artistes tour of the Montego Bay Marine Park.
The western project is being done in collaboration with the Metereo-logical (Met) Office of Jamaica under their Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project, the National Environment and Planning Agency, the National Environmental Edu-cation Committee, Panos Caribbean, the Urban Development Corporation and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica.
"We want people to understand how climate change will affect them and affect Jamaica. Climate change poses a great risk to small islands and we have to plan properly for it or risk not surviving," said Indi Mclymont-Lafayette, regional director, community, media and environment at Panos Caribbean.
According to scientific research, climate change is predicted to cause more intense hurricanes, sea-level rise, increased droughts, increased flooding, etc. "Climate change will also result in disruption of the ways in which some groups - farmers, fisherfolk and resort workers included - earn their living as some key resources like water gets scarcer so we have to start figuring how to address that," she said.
"Adaptation is about teaching people what they need to do. Our goal, in the public education campaign under the GOJ/EU/UNEP Climate Change Awareness and Disaster Risk Reduction Project, is to raise Jamaicans' awareness not only about climate change and its impact but also about what can be done to adapt to a changing climate," explained Gail Hoad, consultant with the MET office.
"The Voices project is the perfect fit in working to reach this goal as it has over the years been helping raise awareness about climate change and increasing citizens' understanding of how to respond in a sustainable way."
Voices for Climate Change includes dialogue with government decision-makers and key sectors which are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Lessons learnt from this project have been shared in St Lucia, Trinidad, and several other Caribbean countries as well as internationally.