“Eden Is Broken”: A Caribbean Leader Calls for Action on Climate Change

2017/9/28 9:56:38

The island nation of Dominica was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. Shortly afterward, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit appeared before the U.N. urging action on climate change.

 

Photograph by Cedrick Isham Calvados / AFP / Getty

 


By Natalie Meade for The New Yorker, Sep 24, 2017

 

At eleven o’clock on Saturday morning, long after Donald Trump, other world leaders, and the hundreds of journalists who cover their every word decamped from New York, Roosevelt Skerrit, the forty-five-year-old Prime Minister of the Caribbean island of Dominica, addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Dressed in a latticework tie and a tailored charcoal-colored suit with a Dominican flag pinned to the lapel, Skerrit, whose country was devastated by Hurricane Maria, declared that “Eden is broken,” and demanded that world leaders acknowledge climate change.

 

“To deny climate change is to procrastinate while the earth sinks; it is to deny a truth we have just lived. It is to mock thousands of my compatriots who in a few hours without a roof over their heads will watch the night descend on Dominica, in fear of sudden mudslides . . . and what the next hurricane may bring,” Skerrit said. “My fellow-leaders, there is no more time for conversation. There is little time left for action. While the big countries talk, the small island nations suffer. We need action and we need it now.”

 

Skerrit did not mention Trump by name, but, unlike the leaders of Britain, France, and many other countries, Trump did not mention climate change once in his address to the world body. Skerrit, by contrast, focused his speech squarely and entirely on climate change. Speaking to a General Assembly Hall that was half empty, Skerrit said warmer air and sea temperatures had “permanently altered” the climate between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and threatened to devastate the Caribbean, a region of forty million people. “Heat is the fuel that takes ordinary storms—storms we could normally master in our sleep—and supercharges them into a devastating force,” Skerrit said.

 

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https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-de ... -action-on-climate-change

 

Editor’s Note: This writer lived and worked in the Caribbean for periods as long as three years, aggregating about eight years since my first visit in 1957. Already quite familiar with many islands of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico, I first visited Dominica in 1980 and subsequently returned many times for visits that combined business and adventure. Since Hurricane Maria hit the island I have been in almost constant contact with families of my acquaintance on the island. It was without doubt one of the most beautiful places on earth that has been literally ravaged by weather conditions more violent than any in recorded history. For anyone who has the capacity to provide financial aid, I can think of no place and no people that is more deserving of your support through any of the major aid agencies – Caritas, ADRA, or the International Red Cross. Jim Davis [jd03150@yahoo.com].

 

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