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This article by Richard Schiffman appeared in The Inter Press Service. Follow the link below for the original report.    

Lefties Food Stall, a pint-sized eatery serving Barbados’ signature flying-fish sandwiches, recently became the first snack shack on the Caribbean island to be fitted with a solar panel.

The nearby public shower facility sports a panel as well. So does the bus shelter across the street, the local police station, and scores of gaily coloured houses on the coastal road leading into the capital, Bridgetown.

It is time to have a Marshall Plan for clean energy— not to rebuild war-torn nations, but to help protect our abused climate system from further damage.

Like many other small island nations, Barbados has to ship in all of the oil that it uses to produce electricity—making power over four times more costly than it is in the fuel-rich United States.

That high price has proven to be a boon for Barbados’ fledgling solar industry. Nearly half of all homes boast solar water heaters on their roofs, which pay for themselves in lower electric bills in less than two years. Increasingly, industries like the island’s small desalination plant are installing solar arrays to meet a portion of their power needs.

This move to solar is being driven by tax incentives for green businesses and consumers. In an address marking the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) “World Environment Day” in Bridgetown’s Independence Square, Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart recently pledged that the island nation would produce 29 percent of its energy from renewables by the end of the next decade.

That rather conservative goal is still over twice what the United States currently produces with renewables. It won’t be hard to reach. Not only is the island blessed with abundant sunshine, it also has year-round trade winds to run wind turbines, and sugar cane waste—or bagasse—that can be used as a biofuel.

The Barbados government is furthermore looking into harnessing the energy of the tides, as well as introducing ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), a technology that employs the temperature difference between cooler deep and warmer shallow sea waters to generate electricity.

Clean energy technologies are slowly making headway throughout the Caribbean. And the nearby United States, the world’s number-one historical emitter of carbon emissions, should pay attention.

A frontline region

Barbados is not alone in the Caribbean in its enthusiasm for green technology.

Aruba is planning a 3.5-MW solar airport, perhaps the largest such project in the world. The Dutch-speaking island has combined wind and solar power with energy efficiency measures to cut its imports of heavy fuel oil in half, saving some 50 million dollars a year.

The volcanic islands of Nevis, Montserrat, and St. Vincent have contracted with Icelandic geothermal companies to conduct exploratory projects to determine how to tap their vast geothermal potential. Meanwhile, mountainous Dominica already meets about half of its energy demand with hydropower.

Caribbean islands don’t just have abundant resources for developing clean energy. They also have compelling reasons to do so. The region is burdened by some of the highest energy costs in the world, which have stunted its industrial development and drained its reserves of foreign exchange.

The islands also have fragile ecosystems like mangrove forests and coral reefs, which are highly vulnerable to oil spills and pollution. And many countries like Barbados depend on tourists, who will flock there only so long as the places remain attractively clean and green.

But the best reason to cut carbon emissions is the danger that these island nations face if climate change proceeds unchecked. And indeed, climate change is already having a big impact. In recent years, lower rainfall in the Eastern Caribbean has posed a threat to agriculture and scarce groundwater supplies.

Sea level rise as well as ocean acidification and warming have killed many protective coral reefs, leading to severe beach erosion. And the hurricane-prone region is being battered by increasingly frequent and powerful storms.

At the World Environment Day event in Bridgetown, the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, called climate change “the most serious existential threat in the world today.”

That is certainly true for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Successive storms ripped through the islands in 2010, 2011, and 2012, leading to a yearly loss of up to 17 percent of the developing country’s GDP, as well as destroying hundreds of homes and killing dozens of islanders.

“If my people don’t get flooded out on the coast,” the prime minister observed ruefully, “they will be washed away in landslides.”

Barbados’ prime minister, Freundel Stuart, echoed his counterpart’s sense of urgency. “Since the issue involves our very survival,” Stuart told the crowd, “capitulation is not an option.” Stuart said he believes that the Caribbean should set “a shining example” for the world to follow.

His government recently commissioned a Green Economy Scoping Study, prepared in partnership with UNEP and released in Bridgetown in June, which includes recommendations on how to make the island’s agriculture, fisheries, transportation, and energy systems more sustainable.

It makes sense: these islands are on the front line for climate change’s destructive forces, so they should also be on the front line in cutting their own carbon emissions. They need to demonstrate how seriously they take the threat, as an example to the rest of us.

A Marshall Plan for the Caribbean

Right now, energy production in the Caribbean is anything but sustainable. Venezuela’s late socialist president Hugo Chavez offered many islands long-term loans and concessionary rates for cheaper oil. His successor has done his best to maintain the modest subsidies.

But nobody can say how long this largesse will last, given Venezuela’s current financial crisis, and still less what will happen to already stressed island economies when they are forced to pay full price for crude.

The Caribbean needs to become energy-independent in order to thrive. But overhauling energy infrastructure does not come cheaply. There are knotty technical challenges related to the stability of the grid that few small nations are currently equipped to meet. And the small scale of the demand for electricity on many of the islands makes it hard to attract international investors.

Moreover, countries like Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis, Grenada, Barbados, and Antigua and Barbuda are saddled with public debts that often exceed their annual GDP. So unlike an industrial powerhouse like Germany, for example, few Caribbean nations are in a position to fully exploit their renewable energy potential.

The big industrial powers that are responsible for the problems of island nations should be lending a helping hand to the folks suffering the most from climate change. Loans from international development banks, as well as technology transfers and training from wealthier countries, would go a long way.

International development banks also need to prime the pump with programmes to encourage prudent investment.

This isn’t charity. By helping islands that are geographically close to the United States go green, Washington won’t just be cutting harmful greenhouse gases for everyone.

It will also create opportunities to learn valuable lessons in overcoming technical challenges—about how, for example, to successfully integrate intermittent inputs from wind and solar into the power grid, a problem that has limited the United States’ own adoption of renewables.

The vulnerable islands of the Caribbean are a perfect laboratory to test solutions on a small scale that can eventually be applied to the far more complex U.S. energy infrastructure.

After World War II, America lent its economic muscle to help rebuild Europe’s shattered economies through the Marshall Plan. It is time to have a Marshall Plan for clean energy— not to rebuild war-torn nations, but to help protect our abused climate system from further damage. The Caribbean, blessed with a wealth of sun, wind, and geothermal energy, is a great place to start.

For the original report go to http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/07/opinion-the-caribbean-a-clean-energy-revolution-on-the-front-lines-of-climate-change

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 18, 2014

Warning for Caribbean countries as sea level continues to rise

 

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Director of the Environmental and Occupational Health Track of the Public Health Department of St George’s University is predicting a bleak future for the Caribbean amid concerns that the rate of sea level rises beyond the anticipated three millimetres mark, Jamaica’s Observer reports.

Hugh Sealy, who is also chairman of the board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) said sea level rise for the Caribbean is inevitable regardless of what decisions are taken now.

“No matter what we do about the future of the CO2 (Carbon dioxide) we put in the atmosphere; even if we pull all the CO2 out of the atmosphere now, we still face a one meter sea level rise in the Caribbean.”

He said if this rate continues as being projected, the islands of the region will see major losses along their coastlines by the year 2050.

“Don’t forget the rate of sea level rise is increasing. We were two decades ago at one and a half millimetres per year; we’re now at three millimetres per year. In two decades time we could be at six millimetres.”

Sealy, who is attending the first ever Caribbean Symposium for Innovators in Coastal Tourism, said the sea level rise is not taking place in isolation and that changes to the weather pattern were also having an immediate and devastating effect on the economy.

“You’re going to have stronger hurricanes which are going to mean that storm surge is going to be worse; you’re going to have salt water intrusions into your ground water aquifers so your fresh water supply is going to be impacted.

“Your agricultural productivity is going to go down. Your yields from your nutmegs are going to get less as the temperatures get hotter and as you get more soil erosion,” Sealy said adding “you’re going to lose a lot of tourism assets; a lot of coastal assets. Seaports would be lost airports would be lost.”

Sealy said that for small economies like Grenada, more that 50 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would have to be spent to replace lost and damaged infrastructure as a result of the effects of climate change.

He said the time to act to mitigate the inevitable effects of climate change is now and urges entrepreneurs in the tourism and hospitality industry to begin now to lobby regional governments to take defensive action.

“This is bigger than you. This has to be done on a national scale,” Sealy said.

Meanwhile, a United States-based water resource planning expert is proposing the establishment of a yachting trail in the south eastern Caribbean to improve the yachting experience on the Windward Islands.

Professor emeritus in the College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University Glenn Haas outlined his proposal at the symposium which ended last Friday.

The proposed trail would be a free web-based trail of information and services that yachters and other travellers would use to experience and enjoy the Windward Islands.

Haas said In addition to providing a number of services that would facilitate travel by yachters, the trail will enhance community benefits from authentic interactions of the yachting community with local citizens and communities.

It will also engage the yachting community in the conservation and protection of marine resources and protected areas; serve as a financial engine for National Conservation Trust(s) and their conservation of protected areas and increase government efficiency; reduce costs and leakage and provide additional employment, he added.

“This trail will attract the yachting community because it would be a status symbol to say they have floated, they have boated this trail,” Haas suggested.

For the original report go to http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Warning-for-Caribbean-countries-as-sea-level-continues-to-rise-_17145077

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 18, 2014

Listen to Derek Walcott’s BBC interview

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Glyn Maxwell meets the Nobel Laureate poet Derek Walcott at his home on the Caribbean island of St Lucia on his 84th birthday.

From his beach home, Walcott talks about the sea and what it is like to come from a place he feels to be without history. He remembers his late friend Seamus Heaney and enthuses about Edward Thomas and Philip Larkin. They talk of teaching poetry – Glyn was once Derek’s student. He reads some of his own poems and, from memory, a sad and beautiful lyric by Walter de la Mare. The surf and the tropical rain make their own calypso music.

You can hear the interview here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0495r41

Posted by: lisaparavisini | July 18, 2014

UK Launch of Philip Nanton’s ISLAND VOICES

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El Taller Cinemático presents the Insular Caribbean Cinematic Exhibition [Muestra de Cine del Caribe Insular] from July 16-23, 2014, at Museum of San Juan, 150 Norzagaray Street, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. [Unfortunately we missed the announcement for the screenings for July 16 and 17; El antillano (Puerto Rico) nd L’homme sur les quais (Haiti), respectively.] All three films begin at 7:00pm and are free and open to the public.

Biguine (Martinique, 2004), Friday July 18

Le Rideau de sucre (Cuba/France, 2007), Saturday July 19

Aliker (Martinique, 2009), Sunday July 20

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

For more information (in Spanish): https://www.facebook.com/pages/El-Taller-Cinematico/110915832279711https://www.facebook.com/pages/MUSEO-DE-SAN-JUAN/246524208814156http://www.insulabpr.com.

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“Within These Walls” is a series of short programs, produced by SAVANT Ltd and centering on Trinidad and Tobago’s salient governance buildings, to be broadcast through The Parliament Channel. Co-directed by Mariel Brown and Juliette McCawley, the series provides brief and insightful glimpses into both the social and architectural histories of some of the country’s most recognizable buildings.

The ten episodes cover iconic buildings such as the President’s House, the Red House, the CabildoKnowsleyWhitehall and the Hall of Justice. The programs are being broadcast on The Parliament Channel, and are also available to watch on their youtube channel here.

“Within These Walls” was worked on by a very talented crew.  These are the series credits:
Executive Producer: The Parliament Channel
Producer for The Parliament Channel: Candice Dubarry
Series Producer, co-producer, co-writer, co-director and editor: Mariel Brown
Co-producer, co-writer, co-director: Juliette McCawley
Original Music: Francesco Emmanuel
Camera Operators: Maurice Alexander, Sean Edghill, Selwyn Henry

For more information, see http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=c0e0c29d9b44c6cd11e2f8085&id=f6596bb2b9&e=2003cc5aa7 and http://www.ttparliament.org/broadcasts.php?mid=47

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 18, 2014

New Issue: Caribbean Studies (Vol. 42, No. 2)

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Dr. Humberto García Muñiz, director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras) has just announced that the latest issue of Caribbean Studies (Vol. 42, No. 2, July-Dec. 2013) has been published. This new issue contains the following articles, obituaries, research notes and book reviews:

Artículos • Articles • Articles

César Salcedo Chirinos, “Los límites del poder disciplinario: El Seminario Conciliar y la formación del clero en Puerto Rico (1805-1857)”

Elisabeth Cunin & Odile Hoffman, “From Colonial Domination to the Making of the Nation: Ethno-Racial Categories and Reports and their Political Uses in Belize, 19th-20th Centuries”

Sasha Turner Bryson, “The Art of Power: Poison and Obeah Accusations and the Struggle for Dominance and Survival in Jamaica’s Slave Society”

Solsiree del Moral, “Rescuing the Jíbaro: Renewing the Puerto Rican Patria through School Reform”

Lorgia García Peña, “Being Black Ain’t So Bad…Dominican Immigrant Women Negotiating Race in Contemporary Italy”

Pablo Martín Aceña & Inés Roldán de Montaud, “A Colonial Bank under Spanish and American Sovereignty: The Banco Español de Puerto Rico, 1888-1913”

The ‘In Memoriam’ section includes:Alice Colón Warren, “En memoria de Helen Safa: Helen Safa vive”; María Margarita Flores Collazo, “En el nombre de la historia”: Obituario: Teresita Martínez Vergne; and Raymundo González, “In Memoriam Franklin Franco Pichardo.”

Notas de investigación • Research Notes • Notes de Recherche

Frances J. Santiago Torres, “Suzanne Césaire: Un legado intelectual de vanguardia” and Amín Pérez, “’Yo no soy racista, yo defiendo mi patria’: Síntomas y efectos nacionalistas en República Dominicana”

Reseñas de libros • Book Reviews • Comptes Rendus

Kirwin R. Shaffer. 2013. Black Flag Boricuas: Anarchism, Antiauthoritarianism, and the Left in Puerto Rico, 1897-1921. (Jorell A. Meléndez Badillo)

Kathleen M. López. 2013. Chinese Cubans: A Transnational History. (Benjamín N. Narváez)

María Teresa Cortés Zavala. 2013. Los hombres de la nación. Itinerarios de progreso económico y el desarrollo intelectual, Puerto Rico en el siglo XIX. (Pedro L. San Miguel)

B.W. Higman. 1988. Proslavery Priest: The Atlantic World of John Lindsay, 1729-1788. (Fernando Picó)

Carol Marsh-Locket and Elizabeth J. West, eds. 2013. Literary Expressions of African Spirituality. (Dannabang Kuwabong)

Virginia Bernhard. 2011. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? (Nicholas G. Faraclas)

Geoffrey Baker. 2011. Buena Vista in the Club: Rap, Reggaetón, and Revolution in Havana. (Melisa Rivière)

Laura Lomas. 2008. Translating Empire. José Martí, Migrant Latino Subjects, and American Modernities. (Leonora Simonovis)

Neil Lazarus. 2011. The Postcolonial Unconscious. (Ian Anthony Bethell Bennett)

V. Eudine Barriteau. 2012. Love and Power: Caribbean Discourses on Gender. (Margarita Mergal)

Jerome S. Handler and Kenneth M. Bilby. 2012. Enacting Power: The Criminalization of Obeah in the Anglophone Caribbean 1760-2012. (Mervyn C. Alleyne)

Elizabeth DeLoughrey and George B. Handley, eds. 2011. Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment. (Melissa García)

Patricia Gherovici. 2003. The Puerto Rican Syndrome.  (Giselle Avilés Maldonado)

 

[Image above is the cover of the previous issue.]

For further information, you may call Dr. Humberto García Muñiz, Director, at (787) 764-0000, extension 4212, or write to iec@uprrp.edu

Ana_lydia_vegaThe University of Puerto Rico-Arecibo extends a call for papers for their V International Conference “Writing, Individual and Society in Spain, the Americas and Puerto Rico,” which will honor writer Ana Lydia Vega. The conference, dedicated to image and word, will take place at the UPR-Arecibo, March 18-20, 2015. The deadline for abstract submissions is November 30, 2014.

The honoree, invited scholars, and plenary speakers are: Ana Lydia Vega (Puerto Rico); Leopoldo Brizuela (Argentina); Chus Gutiérrez (Spain); Jorge Perugorría (Cuba); Lina Meruane (Chile); and Alejandro Zambra (Chile).

Those interested in submitting a work for the congress may present in Spanish, English, or Portuguese. Prospective presenters should send a one-page abstract (for an 8-page double-spaced text, 20-minute presentation) with by a brief curriculum vitae on or before November 30, 2014. Proposals for a special session should provide the session title, and the names and addresses of the participants. Please submit the requested information to emma.domenech@upr.edu or congresointernacional.arecibo@upr.edu or to the following address:

Emma I. Domenech Flores                                                
CoPresidenta Comité Timón                                                           
Universidad de Puerto Rico
PO Box 4010                                                                          
Arecibo, Puerto Rico 00614   

 

For more information, you may call (787) 815-0000, ext. 3751, 3760 or visit www.upra.edu/congreso2015

See photo of Ana Lydia Vega and more information at http://www.encaribe.org/es/article/ana-lydia-vega/1031

 

Posted by: ivetteromero | July 18, 2014

Caribbean people urged to eat less salt

Message about excessive salt consumption, written in salt.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has urged Caribbean nationals and others in the Americas to decrease salt intake to help reduce hypertension – the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

“Salt reduction is recognized as the most cost-effective intervention for population-based prevention of hypertension, and it is one of the WHO (World Health Organization) best buys,” said PAHO’s Dominican-born Director, Dr Carissa F. Etienne, last week. Stating that reducing salt consumption could save 8.5 million lives globally over 10 years, PAHO urged more countries to launch national salt reduction initiatives to prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease. “The cardiovascular benefits of reduced salt intake are on par with the benefits of population-wide reductions in tobacco use, obesity, and cholesterol levels,” Etienne added.

PAHO said a dozen countries in the Americas, including the Caribbean, have launched salt-reduction campaigns as part of PAHO’s regional ‘Salt-Smart Americas’ initiative. The initiative is based on research showing that overconsumption of dietary salt contributes to high blood pressure, which is the leading risk factor for death and the second-leading risk factor for disability worldwide. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.caribbean360.com/news/caribbean-people-urged-to-eat-less-salt-and-live-longer

drewnawedPuerto Rico is the best wedding destination in the world, according to a new USA Today poll. The islands received the No. 1 spot in the 10 Best Readers Choice contest for Best Wedding Destination. The top-place finish comes just weeks after USA Today readers voted Puerto Rico as the best island among the U.S. states and territories.

[. . .] While the travel experts at Tripology nominated a few northern destinations for this contest, our readers chose only warm, tropical places as the 10 winners: Puerto Rico, Aruba, Curaçao, Cancún, Bahamas, Hawaii, St. Lucia, Key West, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Riviera Maya.

“Puerto Rico isn’t just full of ideal settings for open-air ceremonies. Many of our hotels offer packages and trained professionals to help couples plan their dream wedding,” said Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Executive Director Ingrid Rivera. “The convenience of easy air and sea access, modern facilities, options for all tastes and budgets and the fact that American citizens don’t need a Passport to visit Puerto Rico make us the perfect destination for such a special day.”

The USA Today accolade followed a report by Glamour magazine in March that ranked Puerto Rico among the Caribbean’s best bets for destination weddings. Assistant editor Anna Moeslein picked Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos as three “easy-to-get-to islands that would make for a dream destination wedding.”

“I never thought that I would consider a destination wedding someday (emphasis on the ‘someday’ as, uh, I’m not even close to being engaged), but the older I get — and the more beach vacations I take — the more I totally understand how a couple would want to start their life together on such a romantic, stress-free note,” Moeslein wrote.

The island boasts a range of resorts that would serve as stellar stages for a destination wedding, couples looking to tie the knot in Puerto Rico have a plethora of other high-end resorts, small inns, event centers and other unique settings to choose from.

[. . .] A law enacted during the previous administration eases the process for nonresidents wishing to marry on the island. Amendments to the Demographic Registry under Law 27 now allow nonresident couples to submit a medical certificate that meets all the tests required at their place of residence. This amendment eliminates the need to submit original blood-test results as required by Puerto Rico law.

[. . .] In addition, the Puerto Rico government established a toll-free process for brides and grooms who don’t reside in Puerto Rico and wish to marry here. (1-800-866-7827 from the United States or Puerto Rico. From Latin America, the number is 1-800-981-7575. Both numbers are toll-free. The line is open from 8am to 12 midnight.) PRTC representatives help couples coordinate an appointment to visit the Demographic Registrar’s Office, conveniently located at Plaza Las Americas, the Caribbean’s largest shopping center and a great place to pick out wedding gifts.

For full article, see http://www.caribbeanbusinesspr.com/news/usa-today-poll-pr-is-the-best-wedding-destination-in-the-world-98790.html

Also see http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-caribbean-island/ 

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