These climate change negotiations in Paris are perhaps the most critical since theCopenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009, but a lot has changed since then—both the United States and China, two of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, appear willing to do what is necessary to reach a deal, although US President Barack Obama says that any agreements reached in Paris should not be legally binding—a position contrary to the intent of the conference. Climate finance, whereby richer countries help poorer ones cut emissions and deal with the effects of climate change, is becoming more commonplace, as are rallies—just like the one in Trinidad—supporting the movement away from fossil fuels.
At the event, there were booths fromSolid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL), a state company mandated to provide both the government and the private sector with consultancy services in proper waste management; the Ministry of Planning and Development‘sGreen Fund Executing Unit, as well as private eco-minded companies like Green Warriors, which offers services like battery recycling free to the public.
At the opening of the event, IAMovement’s co-founder Jonathan Barcantacknowledged the importance of waste management efforts to Trinidad and Tobago, noting that greater availability of such services “would greatly reduce the volume of material entering landfills which are already at capacity, would capture waste with economic value that would otherwise be lost, and would create many green jobs for both the day-to-day operations as well as design and management of these nationwide programmes”:
Additionally, it would improve overall cleanliness in our land, rivers and oceans, and would help to raise the dignity and sense of care and appreciation for residents of heavily polluted areas such as the Beetham, creating incalculable social and health benefits.
By gathering here today, we are saying as a collective that we care. We are telling the people who make the decisions on how Trinidad and Tobago votes at next week’s Summit, that we need a change. We are also recognising our personal responsibility as Trinbagonians to reduce emissions because of their effect on our climate. Sadly, Trinidad and Tobago is the second highest carbon emitter per capita in the world. This means the average citizen produces more carbon dioxide every year than every other global citizen except Qatar. We are here to show our decision makers that we want them to recognise our responsibility and commitment globally.
We need everyone to work towards climate emissions together — not just at the grassroots level but also from the top down — from governments to multinationals to organisations like embassies and the United Nations, which already have projects happening. This march was a signal to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago that we, the citizens, are concerned about our environment and about climate change. The same way China gets one vote, Trinidad and Tobago gets one vote. We are just as important a voice in the decision-making process in Paris, and this is especially significant considering that we are one of the greatest emitters of greenhouse gases per capita. Let’s not waste this opportunity to help change the course of the world.
Credit: Global Voices