Thursday, December 14, 2017

Media: Jamaica, Land of "No Water"?

"Water Deficit"

A two-word phrase that even this writer would consider impossible to mention  in the same breath or same presentation.

But Head Physicist at the UWI, Dr Michael Taylor used that very phrase in his presentation to the Training Workshop "Disaster Training for Media and Communications Professionals" inside of the Jamaica Conference Centre. The two-day seminar was presented by Global Reporters for the Caribbean in association with the the PPCR (Jamaica), Guardian Group, WISYNCo, the Office of and Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

The Climate Change/Global Warming phenomenon was already altering the Jamaican landscape and will continue to do so - with adverse effects, Dr Taylor pointed out. Among the adverse effects was the depletion of freshwater resources - due to a combination of reduced rainfall, higher temperatures and salination due to sea level rise.). This means that the fabled "land of wood and water" appellation liberally applied to the island may no longer apply. This in turn will have other disastrous effects on life, not just for Jamaicans, but by extension for our regional neighbours and trading partners.

In order to get intensified action, the physics head  said, the conversation round climate change must include "3 Us" : Unpredictable, Unprecedented and Urgent. In that context, the "1.5 To Stay Alive" pledged by countries at 2015's Paris Convention - to keep temperature rises at or as close as possible to 1.5degrees - becomes more critical for Jamaica, especially in light of the proposed Logistics Hub Initiative, with the over whelming majority of the proposed  developments planned for the southern coastal belt from eastern St Catherine to the western end of Clarendon.

The media of course, has to move beyond "mere sensitization" to leading the conversation, using the aforementioned 3Us. The populace will have to realize - and in very short order - that they country is in the midst of a "new normal" a situation in which our natural assets are threatened and diminishing.

The workshop also heard from the heads of ODPEM and he National Meteorological Service, as well as a Hurricane Tracker/ Forecaster from the US National Hurricane Center in Miami, reps from the insurance, building, planning and media industries.

No comments:

Post a Comment