Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Minister of the Environment and Housing Endorses Climate Crisis Declaration

#Nassau, September 24, 2019 – Bahamas – Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon. Romauld Ferreira has endorsed the Climate Crisis Declaration prepared mainly by the Thought Leaders and Policy Team of the Cat Island Conservation Institute (CICI), which is a nonpartisan institute that is community driven and serving.

During a press conference at his office, Friday, September 20, 2019, Minister Ferreira endorsed the Declaration as part of the Ministry’s agenda of supporting Non-Governmental Organizations who are trying to make a difference in the fight against climate change.

“We at the Ministry of the Environment and Housing, and I in my capacity as the Minister of the Environment and Housing, acknowledge that we are in a national climate crisis and the country is facing a national climate emergency. 

“We are committed to doing all that needs to be done to alleviate and remediate the effects of climate change and build resiliency for future events.”

He explained that in the beginning when climate change came up there were some skeptics out there and there still are, but the data is clear.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in 2019 Northern Hemisphere meteorological summer (June through August) was the hottest in the 140-year climate record, tied with 2016. The 2019 Northern Hemisphere land and ocean surface temperatures for the period were 2.03 degrees F (1.13 degrees C) above average.

However, Minister Ferreira stressed that the problem with scientific evidence is that it does not give a person ethics: “It cannot tell you what to do, and what the right thing is to do, and what kind of right responses to take.”

Therefore, he endorsed the Declaration created by the CICI. 

The Minister stated that the next step involves the Prime Minister making a declaration and then he would approach the Speaker of the House to do the same.  “Thereafter, we look at long-term adaption.”

Charles Hamilton, a founding Thought Leader, CICI, explained that The Bahamas, by making this declaration will show itself to be a leader as the first small island developing state and the seventh country at a national level to adopt this stance.

He said the idea for these kinds of declarations first started in the city of Darebin, Australia, whose city government passed the first declaration of a climate emergency in December 2016.  As of July 17, 2019, 19 countries, 1007 governments (primarily the local level) have passed a climate emergency declaration.

CIBI works in communities and co-creates programmes that help persons better understand the needs of their community.  The organization also trains community scientists who work as direct collaborators with professional scientists to gather robust and quality data required for us as a nation to make evidence based decisions.

CICI Bahamas thought leaders span various strata of society from fishermen, engineers, scientists, teachers, realtors, economists, public health, activists, and community members, and represent youth and the young at heart, who will be inheritors of a Bahamas and a planet that has to cope with the effects of climate change.

Two young alumni of the organization, Ricardra Thurston and Shamor Thompson read the Declaration.

By Llonella Gilbert

Release: BIS

Photo Caption: Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon. Romauld Ferreira endorsed the Climate Crisis Declaration prepared mainly by the Thought Leaders and Policy Team of the Cat Island Conservation Institute (CICI) during a press conference at his office, Friday, September 20, 2019.   Founders of CICI, Nikita Shiel Rolle and Charles Hamilton are pictured on either side of Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon. Romauld Ferreira.  Two young alumni of the organization, Shamor Thompson and Ricardra Thurston read the Declaration.   

(BIS Photos/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)

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