Op-Ed: Toward a Green Jamaica

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - April 23, 2014

By Wayne Campbell
Op-Ed Contributor

THERE ARE more than seven billion people living on planet Earth.

Our planet is at a critical juncture. As the global population increases, so, too do the environmental challenges associated with so many people living in a finite area.

Each year, the world pauses on April 22 to commemorate Earth Day. The global theme for Earth Day 2014 was “Green Cities.”

With more than half of the world’s population living in cities, it is becoming more and more challenging to refer to our cities as “green.”

Our cities are increasingly becoming large areas of concrete as governments struggle to provide affordable housing for their citizens.

The denigration of the environment is a direct result of urbanization and population increase.

This is having a negative effect on all of us, rich and poor, Christians and atheists, black and white.

This negative impact is highlighted in Jamaica especially in the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew, where there are hardly any green spaces available where our children, as well as adults alike to enjoy themselves whether for play or just to admire the beauty of nature.

On the contrary, we have a solid waste disposal facility in the middle of the city which is rather senseless and environmentally suicidal.

Interestingly, a section of Vision 2030, Jamaica’s long term development plan, clearly speaks about protecting the environment.

Jamaica’s National Development Goal number 4 provides for Jamaica to have a Healthy National Environment.

However, the Jamaican government’s agreement to the Chinese proposal to build a coal-fired plant at Goat Islands seem to run contrary to moving towards a healthy environment and green economy status.

According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), a green economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

In the past, Jamaica’s economic model was more concerned about improving the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

However, since the global recession a few years ago, many governments have wisely revisited their economic model and have done so ensuring that their environment is not wasted in the process of development and economic gains.

Instead, economic growth and development should be based on social inclusiveness and a respect for Mother Nature.

Each one of us can make a difference in protecting our environment for Earth Day 2014 and beyond.

We do not need a degree in environmental sciences in order to become wardens of the environment.

What we need is a renewed focus to begin looking at the environment as being ours instead of seeing the environment in the abstract.

We need to foster a culture of environmental awareness and consciousness among the population. The destruction of the environment continues to have a gendered approach.

Most of the policies, programmes and plans associated with the annihilation of Planet Earth are crafted in the minds of men. Even when females are at the helm of government they must operate in a patriarchal space in order to push forward any agenda.

The time to mobilize ourselves is now.

We must lobby our government to invest in clean renewable energy and to overhaul our outdated building codes. We must begin to plant more tress and desist from cutting down our trees.

We need to initiate environment clubs in all our schools.

We need to teach environmental education in our schools in order to stir the consciousness of the next generation of Jamaicans.

We need to do more recycling of our waste especially plastic. We must pay more attention to our watershed areas. The reality of climate change is being felt and now is the time to act.

Inasmuch as the government has a major role to play in protecting the environment, we, too, as citizens have a role to play in safeguarding the environment, especially in light of the water problems Jamaica is currently experiencing where scores of people have no water in their pipes.

Our citizens must become more vigilant in matters concerning the environment. The dormant collective spirit of our people must be rekindled and awaken with a fervent sense of urgency and cogency in light of the many environmental challenges we face as a society.

In order to “green” our cities we need a paradigm shift in terms of how our cities, communities and government operate.

We need to build the green economy and provide green jobs.

We need to hold our government more accountable and move towards a carbon-neutral economy. We must each ask ourselves what can I do to make a difference in my community this Earth Day. We must invest protect our environment for future generations.

Once you go “green” you never go back. There can be no sustainable development without a clean and healthy environment.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues. He can be reached at waykam@yahoo.com.

Note: the opinions expressed in Caribbean Journal Op-Eds are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Caribbean Journal.



Popular Posts jamaica new hotel montego bay

Looking for a Budget-Friendly Montego Bay Vacation? There's a New Hotel for That  

It’s home to one of the most famous streets in the Caribbean, named after one of Jamaica’s global music icons: Jimmy Cliff Boulevard.  While the heavily-trafficked street has seen its share of ups and downs in recent decades, that’s been […]


At These 13 Resorts, You Can Take the Perfect Adventure-Filled Vacation in Belize

belize blancaneaux

Belize, a Caribbean travel destination full of natural wonders that also happens to have some of the coolest adventure resorts on the planet, from top-flight jungle hotels to luxurious river lodges and just about everything in between, whether you’re seeking […]


Why Ambergris Caye, Belize is the Caribbean Capital of Overwater Bars

belize san pedro ambergris caye

You can hear the ballad from Palapa halfway across Ambergris Caye; for a moment you swear the voice belongs to Dolly Parton herself.  Palapa is the town’s most prominent stage, hosting a revolving door of talented artists for intimate concerts […]


Related Posts carnival cruise line

Carnival is Making Its New Grand Bahama Cruise Port Bigger 

In what is expected to be a massive boost for Grand Bahama, Carnival Cruise Line is in the process of building a brand-new cruise destination on the island called Celebrtaion Key, which is slated to open in 2025. Now, Carnival […]


Island Routes Is Expanding to St Vincent and the Grenadines 

la soufriere volcano

Caribbean attraction company Island Routes is adding another destination in the Caribbean: St Vincent and the Grenadines.  The company’s expansion comes ahead of sister brand Sandals Resorts International’s imminent debut of the new Sandals St Vincent resort, slated for this […]


The Bahamas Is the Caribbean’s Hottest Spring Destination 

pink sand beach

The Bahamas is the most popular destination in the Caribbean for spring travel, according to a new report from travel insurance company Squaremouth.  The Bahamas was the only Caribbean destination to make the top 10 among the most popular destinations […]


SUBSCRIBE!

Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.


No. Thank You