Life in the Atlantic-Caribbean region is often equated to living in paradise or the closest thing to heaven on earth.
Who could disagree?
No matter where one lives in the region, we have the following going for us; almost 365 days of warm sunshine, fresh clean air, fifty shades of crystal clear waters, colourful fauna and flora and most of all warm and friendly people speaking a variety of dialects.
However, living in the region has also shown us we could be caught up in the crosshairs of some of the most violent hurricanes in history.
Here is a snapshot of some of what we have had to contend with over the past two decades:
Hurricane Ivan 2004: Cayman Islands
Hurricane Irma 2017: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands
Hurricane Maria 2017: Puerto Rico
Hurricane Dorian 2019: Bahamas
Hurricane Humberto 2019: Bermuda
There were more, many more; however, this gives a brief reminder that almost every island grouping in the region has been severely affected by these acts of nature.
There is sufficient data that shows a correlation between climate change; in particular, warming sea temperatures and the increase in the frequency and strength of hurricanes:
The analysis, of satellite images dating to 1979, shows that warming has increased the likelihood of a hurricane developing into a major one of Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds greater than 110 miles an hour, by about 8 per cent a decade. The New York Times (May 18, 2020)
So, for us in the region, climate change has a negative effect on our very lives.
Yet another stark reality that we have had to face recently was the possibility of starvation.
Starvation may be a harsh term, but the reality is that during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, several islands were facing the distinct possibility of a shortage of food supplies.
Some supermarkets literally had to ration how many items of meat that customers could purchase.
This is the side effect of us, as a region, being overly reliant on importing goods from America, versus producing our own food supplies.
As people in the Atlantic-Caribbean region, out of sheer survival, we have always been solutions-orientated. More often than not, we have had to become our own experts and consultants versus relying on those who are not totally familiar with our peculiar circumstances.
Yesterday on the Motion to Adjourn radio show, we had the first in a series of conversations with regional experts in the areas of both climate change and food security.
We were honoured to have both Daphne Ewing Chow, regional journalist and senior contributor with Forbes magazine, and Peter Ivey, food security activist and founder of Mission:FoodPossible.
In upcoming columns, we will be featuring these persons and others as a way of informing the people of what we must do to survive these natural disasters that befall our island homes.
Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org