Thanks tofor this great article!
Bill Fletcher, Jr. of the Global African, discussed the looming disaster in the Caribbean with climate and development scientist Ramon Bueno and Caribbean climate change activists Stina Herberg and Empress Modupe Olufunmi-Jacobs to talk mitigation and the activism behind the threat.
The Transcript and video of the interviews can be seen here. See below for a portion of the discussion between Fletcher and Bueno.
FLETCHER: For those that are in denial of climate change, that it exists at all or whatever, could you just give a couple of examples of the impact of climate change and emissions and what’s happening in the Caribbean?
BUENO: It’s one thing for people to say, look, we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, exactly when, and so on, but even the scientists have–there’s levels of uncertainty. But if you live on an island, whether it’s Grenada or–there are many islands; you can take, you know, whatever–that’s in the path of hurricanes, that’s where the population lives, mostly within a mile of the coast, and depends on tourism recurring every year, and all of a sudden you start entering decades in the future, in the not-that-distant future, where all of a sudden the ocean is encroaching on the beaches and on the property along where the population’s concentrated, there might be roads that might be the main roads–in Barbados, the main road is really along the coast. And now the storms become stronger and you have more damage. People stay away. So your economy starts going into a downward spiral, and more and more of the nations’ budgets start going towards just getting back from under natural disasters. If that starts happening with more frequency, it’s nothing to laugh at. I mean, it becomes a serious problem. And if it’s happening in the entire area where many of your neighbors are undergoing the same kind of phenomenon, you know, it’s–never mind the health of the population; if temperature–you know, this is an area that’s pretty hot year-round. If temperatures on average start rising, you know, five, eight, ten degrees, the number of days above 90, 95 degrees start going to becoming intolerable. Night times, if you have a lot of elderly people or children that have difficulty dealing with that, then, again, it becomes a cycle that feeds on itself. And, unfortunately, the livelihood of the people in those places can become very tough.
It doesn’t have to be that way, and many islands are actually doing what they can. But, unfortunately, the main driver of what’s going to happen to them depends on the world community getting its act together and acting in a timely manner to forestall the worst of the scientific projections. And, again, the scientific projections aren’t saying this is exactly what’s going to happen by 2080, but they’re indicating a range of things around a potentially very bad situation. And if we start taking actions that make a difference and start reducing emissions, going to a more cleaner way of producing our life, into a more sustainable life, the energy that is cleaner and not polluting and–we’ll all gain, from a health perspective, but also primarily because these dangers will be alleviated–it won’t be as bad as the forecasts could be.