Journalists from 11 Caribbean countries gathered for a UNDP sponsored workshop on climate change and the Ozone layer in Suriname, have been told they are a ‘fourth force’ and they need to do a lot to educate the population as it relates to the damage caused by indiscriminate dumping and poor waste management in the region.
Coordinator of the environment for the government of Suriname, John Goedschalk, explained that the region has found itself “as one of the areas in the world that is most threatened by climate change.”
However, he stated that even though there is much debate on the extent to what levels of water saturation will cause which effects, what is clear, is that the region has gone way beyond the levels of man made interference that were once considered the threshold. “We have now passed 400 PPM (parts per million) while scientists have indicated that the avoidance of ‘dangerous interference’ meant staying below 350 PPM ,” he said.
He noted that from the onset, Climate Change is not an accidental occurrence but is the result of the industrialized nations treating the common atmosphere as a waste dumping ground for greenhouse gasses for over 100 years.
“So in a very real sense, climate change is the result of not recognizing and treating the waste products of energy processes correctly,” he remarked. “So in its core, some might recognize climate change as a result of failed waste management.”
Goedschalk said journalists in a vulnerable region as the Caribbean carry a special responsibility. “It means that when you write pieces that regard environmental matters, when you interview people, it means that you must ensure proper context,” he noted. “I refer here to the fact that we are among the countries with the least emissions … but we live in a region where poverty is still at unacceptable levels, where infrastructure is still painfully lacking, and where basic healthcare is not universally available. All of this against the background of increased climate vulnerability.”
Goedschalk noted that as the “region fights to advance along the sustainable development pathway that will eradicate poverty” and tries to improve climate resiliency and maintain clean landscapes, there must be a different “cost of doing business, and a different scale of investment than was required in a pre-climate change world.”
Dominican free lance reporter, Carlisle Jno Baptiste, is among regional journalists attending the workshop.