A regular visitor to the islands of the Caribbean has become a dreaded nuisance over the past ten years. The sargassum seaweed that typically washes ashore now arrives each year in overwhelming, extraordinary amounts for reasons that are not entirely clear.
Trinity Hills in Trinidad and Tobago’s southeast region, also affectionately known as the Three Sisters, is home to a wildlife sanctuary that serves as a sort of incubator for fauna to reproduce and replenish the surrounding forest reserves of the Victoria-Mayaro region that includes the communities of Guayaguayare and Moruga. But a draft management plan for the Trinity Hills environment project and reports from surrounding communities suggest that urgent action is needed to prevent losses to the sanctuary and forest reserve.
Most of the countries in the Caribbean have done a great job of containing the COVID-19 pandemic, with a few notable exceptions, namely, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. A University of Oxford study highlighted Trinidad and Tobago as being among the most successful. However, management of wildlife and illegal hunting in that country remains ineffective.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the spectre of food insecurity as countries and citizens fear a return to the conditions that roiled the international food markets during the 2008 economic crisis.
A Trinidad and Tobago parliamentary report in 2018 made two disturbing observations about that country’s quarry sector:
- Of the 67 mining operators on record, only 6 were operating with current licenses;
- The State loses large sums in the form of unpaid/uncollected royalties from quarry companies.
Trinidad and Tobago, like many other signatories to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, had made commitments in 2010, to achieve several biological diversity targets during the decade 2011 to 2020, commonly referred to as the Aichi targets. However, achieving most of those targets continues to be a work in progress.
The Environmental Defence Fund and its partners in conservation are this month celebrating a major milestone in Belize’s efforts to safeguard its fisheries.
The Caribbean is currently deploying a new technology to help it build resilience to natural disasters. Known as LIDAR, the acronym for light detection and ranging, the technology is being used to gather data that will help regional governments better predict the impacts of climate-related events and determine how best to prepare for them.
Micro, small and medium enterprises as well as niche markets and experiences such as bee tourism may well hold the key for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States as countries of that sub-region, known as the OECS, ramp up efforts to build economies that are resilient to the impacts of climate change.
Fishers in Anguilla saw posted on Youtube this week a video they helped produce that depicts the impacts of climate change on their industry. Titled “Anguilla’s Fishing Dilemma”, the four-and-a-half minute video highlights some of the main challenges Anguilla’s 92 licensed fishers face in earning a living.
Trinidad and Tobago unveiled its monitoring, reporting and verification system in mid-March with a flourish, with government authorities underscoring the launch of the Monitoring, Reporting, Verification as a milestone in that country’s efforts to reduce its emissions in line with its commitments under the 2016 Paris agreement.
The Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator launched last year June with the backing of Virgin’s Richard Branson has given itself five years to help the region become climate resilient.
Water-scarce Grenadians will soon get some relief through a Green Climate Fund-approved project to be launched next year that will make Grenada’s water sector more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
Four Caribbean countries have done an inventory of the major sources of mercury contamination in their islands, but a great deal of work still needs to be done to determine where and what impact this mercury is having on the region's seafood chain.
Recent research at a centre in Guyana shows that some types of butterflies and lizards in the Amazon have been seeking shelter from the heat as Amazonian temperatures rise.
Guyana is forging ahead with plans to exploit vast offshore reserves of oil and gas, even while speaking eloquently of its leadership in transitioning to a green economy at a recent political party congress addressed by the country's president.
Mikesh Ram would watch his rice crops begin to rot during the dry season in Guyana, because salt water from the nearby Atlantic Ocean was displacing freshwater from the Mahaica River he and other farmers used to flood their rice paddies.
Conversations about renewable and sustainable energy don't typically include artistic ideas on the subject. However, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) has chosen to engage the region's youth in the conversation by inviting them to create artistic works on sustainable energy for a regional competition.
As Tobago's tourism industry struggles to repel the sargassum invasions that have smothered its beaches with massive layers of seaweed as far as the eye can see - in some places half a metre thick - and left residents retching from the stench, the island's government is working to establish an early warning system that will alert islanders to imminent invasions so they can take defensive action.
As two environmental activist groups in Trinidad and Tobago powered by young volunteers prepare to ramp up their climate change and sustainability activism, they are also contemplating their own sustainability and how they can become viable over the long-term.
Caribbean Community (Caricom) states are in the process of formulating an energy efficiency building code for the region that would help reduce CO2 emissions, but implementation of the code may depend heavily on moral suasion for its success.