This week, saw days of heavy rains and flooding, not only in Grenada but as far as neighbouring islands Saint Lucia and Dominica. Some scary but interesting photos made the rounds on social media with the focus for us being River Road and Saint David even while efforts are being made to mitigate problems caused by the Saint John River. Some people are of the view that the course of the river was tampered with for development in the area which is giving rise to today’s problems. The older residents in the area remember when the river was friendlier and was the common place for washing clothes which provided a livelihood for them then.
The North Atlantic Hurricane Season should see the official closure at the end of this month but with climate change anything can happen. Forecasters are predicting significant rainfall continuing this weekend which can result again in flooding and landslides. Our readers should be warned that the consecutive wet days are caused by a surface trough that is expected to influence the northward migration of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in the Windward Islands and nearby areas.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NaDMA) in its advisories “encourages citizens to prepare their homes and surroundings for these possible adverse conditions; clean drains and gutters, prepare sandbags and cut over hanging trees so as to avoid severe damage to property and infrastructure.” How new are these advisories? Where is Physical Planning in all of this in relation to land use? Shouldn’t the change in the weather pattern be in our psyche by now? In other countries people deal with four seasons each year and they are coping very well. But in Grenada, the nervousness that accompany the issuance of severe weather warnings is enough to provoke the question –when will we get it that we must learn to live with Mother Nature?
After several days of significant rainfall in Grenada even the National Water and Sewerage Authority was negatively affected as pipelines in the Mt Horne dam were damaged. By now that company should have seen the need to use material that can withstand the rough weather that comes with climate change. It is our hope that they will pay attention to that. And just why are we still destroying 100-year old mangroves in Hope Beach in Saint Andrew and elsewhere? The Grenada Land Actors Inc (GLA) seems to be the only group that has called on the government to put a stop to the cutting of mangroves and almond trees along the beach; but who is listening? Certainly not the wardens who seem to be none the wiser of what they are doing to Mother Earth.
Countries from all over the world attended the COP26 Summit in the United Kingdom some time ago as the world continues to heat up. Thousands of leaders, negotiators and activists also met in Glasgow to plan what can be done to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Shouldn’t that be high on the agenda as a topic for discussion in our schools so that young people will be on board with change in the weather pattern? They are certainly getting an overdose of raw politics on traditional and social media from morning until night. The time has come to engage them meaningfully since we are seeing people who are forming the government getting younger and younger. They must be made aware of the drastic climate change from too much rain to drought.
The ill winds of climate change are blowing through the smallest islands and the biggest megacities, causing wildfires to burn, crops to fail and seas to rise. Developing countries and small island states are bearing the brunt of the crisis, with whole communities forced to flee rising floodwaters or encroaching drought. In the Caribbean we had a record-breaking 30 tropical storms in 2020, including six major hurricanes. Should that be taken for granted as simply God’s work?
Some of us may remember when Prime Minister Mia Mottley, in addressing a climate roundtable at the UN General Assembly in New York, calling the hurricanes that rage with increasing regularity and ferocity over Barbados the “heart attacks of the climate crisis”. This newspaper is calling on all leaders to come up with ideas in a bid to save lives by shoring up defences to tropical storms, supporting farmers to flourish in droughts and protecting forests and marine life.
It is critical for countries to adapt to and mitigate the very real threats from climate change today. Public and private sectors must back the global transition to clean energy and sustainable, climate-resilient infrastructure, ensuring green technology. Coal and other fossil fuels were used liberally in developed countries in the past, now as new technologies become available we are seeing electric cars which may end the sale of petrol and diesel cars. Finally, in a bid to produce clean green renewable energy powers there must also be massive investment in wind, solar and hydrogen power.