There are so many topics that call for our attention concerning climate change that it is hard to choose only one. Particularly in the Caribbean, where we see the effects of a warming world in our every day lives. Coral bleaching, weather changes, rising oceans, increased health problems, agricultural issues, it seems overwhelming. But there are people working on all of these issues, trying for solutions even as others live in the Denial Zone of "It's not real, please turn the a/c on cooler and turn on the lights when you leave."
It's the polar bear's fault!
I thought I'd stick with fishing, because that is something I know a little bit about. Lots of people know a lot more... This study is presented in very simplistic terms here and the article only scratches the surface - so to speak. But beyond all the statistical details and very complex formulations, the situation as predicated on past, present and future outlooks is pretty simple. Warmer temperatures mean hotter oceans. In the tropics, the water is pretty warm anyway. As it warms it will affect the fisheries, removing certain species to cooler waters (certain kinds of fish are being seen in New England that have never been seen there before, a trend increasing as I type), while depleting others who cannot adapt quickly enough to escape the warming trends for survival.
Trickle down effect? Less fish, which means less income for fishermen, less fish to eat, less fish to sell. Less variety. Those who fish for daily meals as well as those fishing for income will have to find other food and revenue sources, a propositional question and reality not easily answered and solved.
But! the good news is, people are working on these answers. Maybe amidst an attitude lot of too little too late, but better late than never (cliches for the day, quota overfilled, make note!). People like Dr. Jago Cooper of the University of Leicester's School of Archaeology and Ancient History has been studying the archaeology of climate change in the Caribbean, with an international team of researchers from Britain, Cuba and Canada. “I have examined the relationship between long and short-term effects of climate change and past human engagement with the geographical, ecological and meteorological consequences. A key focus of the research has been to investigate past mitigation of the impacts of climate change through the analysis of changes in settlement structures, food procurement strategies and household architecture.”
In other words, as climate goes, humans have survived before and can survive again by adapting to the changes in climate. Some of the suggestions seem simplistic, but can be life saving, such as building homes on stilts rather than moving farther inland or up hill and mountainsides. When the ocean levels are rising and wiping out villages in the South Pacific, such a building practice could change how people live, allowing them to stay near the source of their food and family networks.
"A report released earlier this month [report written in 2001] by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warns that global warming could cost the world billions of dollars a year, unless industrialised countries take immediate steps to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases produced from the burning of fossil fuel - all linked with the warming of the Earth."
So we're not just talking about a few subsistence fishermen here. And from reducing emissions to building stilt houses, to making our own 'carbon footprint' as small as possible, it will take a village, a global village, to combat and survive the climate change we are all experiencing in one way or another. Do your part!! Let's see, we could make a slogan, Be smart, do your part...Have a heart, do your part...Pull a cart, do yo...ok, never mind. But you get the idea.
Want to do something? You can start taking action here. Then, do something more. Figure out how to use your car less, recycle more, stop getting those plastic bags at the market, change out your lightbulbs for energy efficient types. How can you change the world? Change your world, that's a start. Hmmm....Do your part, that's a start. Yeah, I'm going with it!