St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Richmond Vale Academy has since 2012 worked very focused on developing a program that can secure getting more ready for climate change in a structured way. After having experienced the effects of global climate change in the extreme weather events – e.g. a drought in the beginning of 2010 followed by Hurricane Thomas and the torrential rainfalls and flash floods in 2011 – Richmond Vale Academy launched the St. Vincent Climate Compliance Program (CCP) in March 2012.
A brief information about St. Vincent & the Grenadines
St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) consists of the main island of St. Vincent (345 km2), and the northern Grenadines (44 km2) which includes the islands of Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island, Palm Island, Petit St. Vincent, and 28 uninhabited islets. The combined population of SVG is approximately 110,000 people. SVG’s annual per capita income of US $1,730 places it in the ranks of the least developed countries within the United Nations system.
SVG boasts a diverse collection of biological resources. St. Vincent is mountainous and fertile, and has significant tropical rainforest which provides the natural habitat for the St. Vincent parrot and other wildlife. The Grenadines, in contrast, consists of low dry islands surrounded by extensive coral reefs.
In total, more than 1,150 species of flowering plants, 163 species of ferns, 4 species of amphibians, 16 species of reptiles, 111 species of birds, and 15 species of mammals have been identified on SVG. The relatively small and confined nature of the islands eco-system creates a special need for the protection of their natural, and in particular, biological resources.
The St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference 2012-2021
With an eye to the planetary boundary concept, counting nine different such planetary boundaries, mankind is now technologically able to study Earth systems at a planetary level and establish the environmental thresholds within which mankind must keep the Globe in order to keep its systems functioning and in balance. Never before has so much scientific data, books and other publications been available to people like you and we, and never before has there been such a broadly based consensus among all but ardent deniers that Global Warming and Climate Change are real and that also actions by man are causing the Earth’s system to collapse, causing irreversible damage to the Earth and life as we know it.
The St. Vincent CCP seeks to educate, raise awareness and mobilize people to take action. It offers a practical solution to building greater resilience into vulnerable communities by implementing actions to protect the natural resources that they depend on.
Our work in St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Since the start of the program forty (40) people from St. Vincent along with sixty (60) volunteers from all over the World have educated themselves in Climate Compliance and have worked alongside the people of St. Vincent under the headline of the Climate Compliance Conference: Food and Water, Carbon Neutral Energy, Ready for Climate Change.
Food and Water
A food compliant St Vincent in 2021: We are self-sufficient with basic food – sweet potatoes, cassava, plantain, peanuts, beans, vegetables, fruits.St Vincent imports much of its food, for example cheap subsidized chicken parts from US. The tendency is to import more and more food, which affects our local economy.
Half of our population lives in rural areas and 25% are employed in farming, but little food is produced. The farming population is aging (80% are over 35 years old). Few young people go into farming. Banana production is being phased out as preferential EU prices go down, apart from export to islands in the region. Food prices will keep on increasing, and this means a number of farmers will give up farming and move to the towns, if no special measures are taken. There will be more dry periods and this will mean that irrigation systems need to become more widespread. Rainfall will decrease (25% over 20 years) but fall more violently and on fewer days. This will lead to more destructions of agricultural crops and fields.
Carbon Neutral Energy
An energy compliant St. Vincent in 2021: We have become a carbon neutral nation and use solar, geothermal and hydro electrizal power for our energy needs. Today most energy is produced in generators from diesel. The rest, 17% of the energy on St Vincent island, is from hydropower. In the Grenadines practically all energy is produced in diesel generators. Most households are connected to the grid. Electricity is five times as expensive as in the US. Most homes have installed energy saving light bulbs donated by Cuba and solar water heating systems are becoming more common. 20 % of the population owns a car.
The government is investigating to establish geothermal energy. Biofuel production is not viable with the price of labor and more profitable use of the land for agriculture is used for food production. The stronger hurricanes will affect energy supply, where the centralized systems with a national grid are more vulnerable.
Ready for Climate Change
St. Vincent is getting prepared for warmer times and more disasters. Damaging hurricanes hit St Vincent, and it is ranked globally as the second most disaster prone country, when compared by area. During heavy rains, the freshwater systems do not function and water becomes contaminated. Hurricanes and tropical storms will become stronger and more damaging. This will lead to more mudslides and more coastal erosion. More and more land is already being claimed by the sea.
The rise of sea levels and storm surges will mainly affect the towns on St Vincent, since they are all coastal. On the island, 85% of the population lives at less than 5 m above sea level.
Dengue fever will become more widespread due to higher temperatures.