JUST 11 days ago we asked here how serious the government was when Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said nations needed to intensify their response to the threats from global warming.
A noble call much championed by his predecessor Perry Christie but in real terms we have seen little evidence of anything really changing here in one of the countries most threatened by rising sea levels and new super-hurricanes.
Today’s paper carries an article by Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. Like many articles before, it delivers a chilling message.
Despite all the conferences, scientific reports, government agreements it seems our promises to reduce carbon dioxide emissions have pretty much come to nought.
With the exception of one country – the United Kingdom – NO ONE has achieved a reduction in emissions of more than two percent a year.
Just achieving the agreements the world’s nations have already signed up to won’t prevent the earth’s temperature rising by 3.2 degrees centigrade.
That temperature rise unquestionably will mean stronger winds, longer droughts, coral wiped out, more ice melt, coastal areas flooded.
To achieve the targets demanded we now have to increase our reductions by 7.6 percent every year for the next ten years.
Let’s be honest - that’s not going to happen.
Inger Andersen though says we have to try. We have no other choice.
Readers will recall some weeks ago we published a report of how the Bahamian coastline will look over the coming years if climate change carries on unstopped. Tens of thousands of people logged on to our website to see whether their islands would survive, how much of their Bahamas would be lost.
The size of this online audience shows the public cares, that they are interested and, we suspect, ready to do their bit to try and help.
In January the Bahamas’ ban on single-use plastics comes in so it will be fascinating to see how this small step in the war to save the planet is greeted. We hope with open arms.
If it is, we would look to Dr Minnis and his cabinet to quickly look at what other quick fixes which have worked around the world we can adopt to increase our part in the emissions reduction battle.
It would be shameful if we were to do nothing.
Imagine, in ten years time – it really is that close – some of our citizens are standing in their washed out homes and asking – what could we have done?
Doing nothing isn’t an option. As Inger Andersen begs for all our sakes – we have to try.
Shelters may shut but we still worry about the future
Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell yesterday outlined the government’s ambition to have Dorian evacuation centres cleared by the end of the year.
Unquestionably the hundreds of government staff and volunteers deserve our thanks for the incredible efforts they have made in recent months to provide as much care and comfort as possible for those whose lives were turned upside down.
As Mr Campbell pointed out, these workers have families themselves who in the months since the hurricane hit have seen their loved ones working flat out, week after week. That takes a toll on anyone, so we wish these incredible people well as they return to their normal lives.
We hope some sort of normalcy also awaits those who Mr Campbell and his colleagues feel are coming to the end of their stay.
We do have slight misgivings that all may not be as simple as Mr Campbell suggests will happen.
How many of those still in shelters will end up back in Abaco or Grand Bahama picking up where they left off? The places they worked are mostly gone, their homes a pile of rubble, schools where their children went to learn and play left devastated.
Not many, we suspect, will find a place in “Dome Village”. Very few will find work. None - if the government’s determination bears fruit - will find their way back to The Mudd or Pigeon Peas.
So while the shelters here may shut we worry what the future holds for these unfortunate people.
We won’t be surprised to see more in court on immigration charges, a press release from the Immigration Department celebrating its success in sending back another planeload to Haiti.
Yes, we may get a gymnasium back in time for the New Year but let’s make sure when the bells chime at midnight on December 31 we can raise a toast to a job well done for all the right, humanitarian reasons.