Why Should We Care About Climate Change?

Why Should We Care About Climate Change?

We often hear the phrase “the Jamaican economy outweighs all other considerations” . The environment is often sidelined “in our efforts to achieve economic development”. At ESL we believe in harmonizing development with the environment. It is possible to achieve this by first recognizing that much of Jamaica’s economy depends on the quality of the physical, ecological and social environment, and environmental best practice can be integrated into development to achieve sustainability.

A significant development issue is climate change which has become prominent on the global environment and development agenda. Climate change has been a well-used term recently, but often times, it is presented in an impersonal way and is therefore viewed as an issue solely for the scientists and the government. However, a new way to talk about climate change is emerging which is shifting the focus from impersonal discussions about greenhouse gas emissions and power plants, to a very personal one - Our Health.

In Jamaica, there is a growing recognition that our health is affected by the impacts of climate change. The droughts of 2014 and 2015, the bush-fires, Chikungunya and dengue outbreak - all demonstrated the impacts not only on individual health and wellness but also on the productivity of the country and hence the economy. Not only in Jamaica but around the world, variations in climate are affecting in profoundly diverse ways, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. The World Health Organization indicated that we are “losing our capacity to sustain human life in good health”.

So the big question in Jamaica is “what can we do?” We must build our climate resilience, and we should reduce or contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Individuals and society cannot build resilience without first knowing the steps they should take. A most important first step is to support awareness and education efforts that help individuals understand issues so as to make informed decisions.

In 2015, ESL led a major sensitization and awareness campaign in association with the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change: Jamaica’s Climate Walk. The Walk was aimed at sensitizing Jamaicans to the link between climate change, health and wellness and encouraging people to start thinking about “how it affects me.”

The Walk was held on October 24, 2015 and was attended by over 1500 people of all ages and from different sectors in Jamaica. This sensitization process is ongoing as it is important to keep abreast of available information to guide our coping strategies.

We should care about climate change because it is happening now and it affects us all. We cannot condemn our children, and their children, to a future that is beyond their capacity to repair.

“We are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change and the last that can do anything about it” (Rising Seas Summit).

Join ESL as we embark on a mission to raise awareness in Jamaica and adapt to the changes we are already experiencing.