From an influx of sargassum in near-shore waters, to fish venturing further out to sea to find cooler, more oxygenated water, fishers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are battling the vagaries of climate change. The country is doing what it can to respond.
In the tiny eastern Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, proverbs relating to the weather are very common.
Everyone knows that “Who has cocoa outside must look out for rain”, has nothing to do with the drying of the bean from which chocolate is made or the sudden downpours common in this tropical nation.
As a child growing up in Mayreau four decades ago, Filius “Philman” Ollivierre remembers a 70-foot-wide span of land, with the sea on either side that made the rest of the 1.5-square mile island one with Mount Carbuit.
If there is one lesson that Dominican Reginald Austrie has learnt from the devastation Hurricane Maria brought to his country last September, it is the need for “resilience, resilience, resilience”.
And it is not just because he is his country’s minister of agriculture.
When Hurricane Irma ripped through the British Virgins Islands on Sept. 6, claiming seven lives, injuring an unknown number of people and destroying built infrastructure as well as significantly damaging the natural environment, the ferocity of the storm shocked many of the islands’ residents, including 72-year-old Egbert Smith, who has lived through plenty of severe storms.
The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines says it hopes that the devastating loss and damage that Hurricane Harvey has wrought in Texas might inspire the government of President Donald Trump to rethink its position on climate change.
With Antigua and Barbuda joining St. Kitts and Nevis as the two eastern Caribbean nations to attain middle-income country status, a senior diplomat has identified climate change as a major factor preventing other nations in the grouping from taking the same step forward.
A leading climate change mitigation and adaptation activist and former climate negotiator in the Caribbean says that the United States could protect its economic and political interest by helping the region to go green.
In the 1980s, an institution for troubled Danish youth and a vocational school for Vincentians was built in Richmond Vale, an agricultural district on the northwestern tip of St. Vincent.
Caribbean leaders worry that with climate change sceptic Donald Trump in the White House, it will be more difficult for small island developing states facing the brunt of climate change to secure the financing necessary to adapt to and mitigate against it.
Antiguan Veronica Yearwood no longer panics when she hears that the rainfall forecast for the tiny Caribbean island is again lower than average rainfall.
Award-winning St. Lucian poet and playwright Kendel Hippolyte thinks that Caribbean nationals should view the Earth as their mother.
Fifteen years ago, Stephanie Browne, a former Member of Parliament in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, needed only to look at the beach outside her house to know why her community in Union Island was called “Big Sand”.
St. Lucian farmer Anthony Herman was hoping that next year he’d manage to recoup some of the losses he sustained after 70 per cent of his cashew crop withered and died in the heat of the scorching southern Caribbean sun.
By the time leaders of the international community sit down in Paris later this year to discuss climate change, at least two Caribbean leaders are hoping that France can demonstrate its commitment to assisting their adaptation efforts by re-joining the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
For 32 years, Joel Poyer, a forest technician, has been tending to the forest of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
When the international climate change talks ended in Peru last December, the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a political and economic union comprising small, developing, climate-vulnerable islands and low-lying nations, left with “the bare minimum necessary to continue the process to address climate change”.
At Plas Kassav, a roadside outlet in Canaries, a rural community in western St. Lucia, a busload of visitors from other Caribbean countries, along with tourists from North America and Europe, sample the 12 flavours of freshly baked cassava bread on sale.
When it comes to tourism in the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), The Bahamas -- 700 islands sprinkled over 100,000 square miles of ocean starting just 50 miles off Florida -- is a heavyweight.
For decades, the fertile slopes of La Soufriere volcano, which occupies the northern third of this 344-kilometre-square island, has produced illegally grown marijuana that fuels the local underground economy, and the trade in that illicit drug across the eastern Caribbean.