THE EDITOR: Our atmosphere acts as a transparent, protective covering around our Earth. It lets in energy in the form of sunlight and retains heat. Greenhouse gases keep the Earth’s temperature at a level that is just right for humans, animals and plants. These greenhouse gases are, however, now increasing at an alarming rate and we humans are disturbing the balance.
This has been the third hottest year on record.
Concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere are increasing at a faster rate than in the past million years. Polar ice caps are melting rapidly. Climate change will increase the intensity and frequency of extreme weather conditions, heat waves, storms, hurricanes, floods and droughts.
Climate change, which we are experiencing right now, is affecting all countries, but will be particularly felt in small-island states like the Caribbean, which includes Trinidad and Tobago. In fact, the Caribbean is considered to be one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to the impacts of climate change. Changes in temperature, rainfall, hurricane intensity and sea-level rise! Think of that for island countries.
The Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust has been talking, teaching and warning about climate change since 1989, suggesting solutions and remediation and we were supported by many foreign organisations including the OAS (Organization of American States).
Whether we realise it or not, the most vital role of trees and forests is their fight against global warming. Many of us know that we rely on them for our water, food and many medicines but do not take seriously enough the fact that we rely on them for our climate and, therefore, our very lives.
Forests, trees, store vast amounts of carbon in their trunks, branches and leaves. The roots and soil below contain even more carbon. Forests store 4.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, approximately ten per cent of the emissions caused by humans each year. Yet we are destroying our forests at an alarming rate. When we destroy our forests we lose this natural balancing mechanism.
The answer for each and every one of us, in whatever way we can, is to stop the destruction of our forests. Plant more trees. Utilise alternative energy as planned for in Piarco.
MOLLY R GASKIN
PaP Wildfowl Trust