By LEANDRA ROLLE
THE Bahamas is facing an impending and existential threat due to climate change, according to the Cat Island Conservation Institute Friday.
CICI during a press conference presented Environment Minister Romauld Ferreira with its ‘Climate Crisis Emergency’ declaration, imploring all to action in protesting against climate injustice. They want this declaration to spark action from Bahamians that will combat the affects of climate change.
In the declaration, CICI called on the House of Assembly to proclaim the country as being “in a national climate emergency” which requires “a commitment to mobilising resources and prioritising policy as it relates to the mitigation and adaption of climate change in our country.”
The declaration continued: “We declare that immediate and bold action by the Bahamas, other SIDS, and the international community is required to address this climate crisis. National, regional and global strategic partnerships are essential to strengthen policy as it relates to climate resilience and emergency response system.”
CICI policy team leader Charles Hamilton explained the goal of this climate crisis declaration, noting it was an initiative for governments to recognise and address climate change and the broader ecological crisis.
He said: “As of July 2019, nineteen countries, over a thousand governments primarily at a local level, have passed a climate emergency declaration. The Bahamas by making this declaration will show itself to be a leader as the first small island developing state and seventh country at a national level to adopt this stance.”.
When Hurricane Dorian pummelled Abaco and Grand Bahama more than three weeks ago - leaving behind a trail of destruction - many saw it as evidence that climate change is a threat and has to be taken seriously.
According to CICI, hurricanes like Dorian are projected to occur more frequently in future and will require a significant change in how the country responds to this issue.
Founder and executive Director of CICI, Nikita Shiel-Rolle added that Hurricane Dorian has provided an opportunity for all Bahamians to participate and become agents for change.
She said: “Hurricane Dorian is an example of our new normal. The Bahamas, along with our brothers and sisters in the region are sitting ducks every hurricane season as we pray our island would be spared.
“My call to action today is for every single person in the Bahamas, throughout the region and around the world to join me in solidarity to protesting climate injustice.”
Minister Romauld Ferreira agreed that the Bahamas is in a national climate crisis, adding officials were committed to combating its effects.
“The immediate next step is for our prime minister to make a subsequent declaration and then I would approach the Speaker of the House of Assembly to do the same. But those are sort of the first immediate steps. Thereafter, we will look at long-term adaptation and we look at the ability for us to raise awareness around the world and to attract funding,” he said.