Everything Caribbean

Out of an abundance of caution


and Barbudans can breathe easy now that the 2019 hurricane season is behind
us.  This year’s season ran from
May 20, when the first Atlantic system formed, to November 30. It was the
fourth year in a row of above-average and violent seasons. This season (tied
with the 1969 season) also ranks as the fourth-most active hurricane season on
record with 18 storms. Mercifully, notwithstanding the potential for death and
destruction, the good Lord, in His infinite grace, spared our twin-island
nation, and we are indeed grateful. After all, we are still recovering from the
havoc wreaked by Hurricane Irma in 2017. That was when, Mother Nature, in her capriciousness and whimsy, did her darndest
to our Sister Isle, and nature’s grievous injury was compounded by human
missteps in the rebuilding effort.

we (and the world) have learned many important lessons from Hurricanes Irma,
Maria and Dorian – not least of which is that, unless the world gets truly
serious about climate change, the grim reality of more and more Category 5
hurricanes will be with us for the foreseeable future. We have a solemn
responsibility to be good stewards of the environment, and we must needs be
about the business of preserving our mangroves, protecting and replenishing our
trees, limiting plastic pollution and weaning ourselves off our unholy
addiction to fossil fuels. In that regard, we have to begin thinking of more
and more ways in which we can make that bold (and essential) transition to
renewable sources of energy. To its credit, this Gaston Browne administration
has peered into the future and is persuaded that the West Indies Oil Company
(WIOC) must eventually change its business model so that as much oil as
possible stays in the ground. Think, beyond

That is
actually the name of a multinational oil giant, British Petroleum, that recast itself as an energy company in 2000.
This was all in an attempt to change its business model (and image) from a
dastardly polluter of the environment, to a good corporate citizen that cared
about our future. Thus, they began providing solar energy in a bid to steer
consumers from oil to alternate and renewable energy. British Petroleum is now Beyond Petroleum! Kudos!

also to Minister of Health Molwyn Joseph, and his entire team for implementing
the bold and visionary single-use plastics ban in 2016. It was a most
encouraging step in the right direction that is now being emulated by a number
of countries around the world like India. (India has temporarily put the ban on
hold, but it will eventually become a reality there).

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hosting of the historic PLAY IT OUT TO
concert was also quite an inspiring event, seen by millions
around the world. For those countries that are still fiddling while Planet Earth burns, it is a welcome wake-up call.

even as we exhale here in Antigua and Barbuda, we must remember those in other
parts who were not so fortunate. Our hearts bleed with the families of those in
the Bahamas who perished as the winds howled and the tempest raged over Abaco
Island on September 1, and the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island on September
2. Not even Dante Alighieri could have described the hellish scenes that met
the eye after Dorian decided to move on – one of utter devastation with a death
toll of over 60, and 400 missing. We must also pray for the thousands of
Bahamians who have been left destitute, and certainly assist in whatever way we
can. Remember, There, but for the grace of God go we . . . !”

begs the obvious question: How prepared is Antigua and Barbuda? In many ways,
not as prepared as we would like to think. For example, our homes need to be more
climate-change and hurricane resilient; our waterways and drains need to be upgraded
and kept clear, especially when a hurricane threatens; we need to harden our
shelters; our mangroves (still scratching our heads over the wanton mangrove
destruction in the North East Marine Management Area and elsewhere) should be
in place to reduce the intensity of storm surges and prevent detritus from
entering our oceans, and so on and so forth. Clearly, we are of a mind that a
great deal more can, and should, be done. It is not too early to set our homes
in order. Remember, folks, “Mother Nature hath no fury like the wrath
of an environment scorned!”

The post Out of an abundance of caution appeared first on Antigua Observer Newspaper.

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