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“Solutions to climate change rest in collective stewardship of land, resources”
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“Solutions to climate change rest in collective stewardship of land, resources”

In examining the impacts of climate change in her homeland of Antigua and Barbuda, Ariana Joseph, 17, a Correspondent now studying in Canada, writes about some of the initiatives being undertaken to help save the planet.

While climate change has received much attention for its increasingly-visible manifestations, it is not an issue, or topic of concern, solely for industrialised nations. It is, in fact, something that affects us all, even small states like my native Antigua and Barbuda.

Global warming is a universal phenomenon that has undermined many knowledge-systems, including: traditional weather patterns, farming patterns, and the general health and well-being of our collective existence as human beings.

Representatives from my home nation were present at the historic Paris Conference in December 2015, as Antigua and Barbuda became one of the signatories of the landmark Paris Agreement.

Since signing that global declaration, leaders from my country have begun to take concrete action. There is already a ban on the importation of plastic shopping bags, for example. There are also steps being taken to phase out the use of Styrofoam products. These initiatives are intended to help reduce the methane release from our landfill.

Additionally, we have seen the introduction of solar-powered street lights and the equipping of government buildings with solar panels. These two initiatives are designed to further help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. It is a race to save our country and, indeed, the world from the negative greenhouse effects that threatens not just our civilisation as we know it but also the very existence of planet Earth itself.

One of the groups in my home country that has joined the vanguard against the onrushing tide of global warming is the youth group of the Potters Seventh Day Adventist Church. Potters is a rapidly expanding village that includes the parishes of St. John and St. George and is situated less than two miles to the east of St. John’s City. The Seventh Day Adventist Church is nestled in the heart of Potters and serves that village and the surrounding communities.

Under the abled leadership of Her Excellency Karen-Mae Hill (the Antigua and Barbuda High Commissioner to London) and Ms. Claudine Benjamin (a leading member of the church), the Potters Seventh Day Adventist Youth Group has enlisted an army of crusaders against global warming. Their concerns are not solely predicated on the damage that has been done to the environment, but also as humanity’s custodial responsibility “to dress and keep” God’s land. In essence, they see the issue as not only an environmental one, but even more so as one of spiritual stewardship.

The members of the Potters Seventh Day Adventist Youth Group see the negative impacts of climate change as a harbinger of things to come. Consequently, they believe it is imperative that they become involved to help stem the onrushing tide of global warming and to also draw attention to the need for fellow citizens to take on their stewardship responsibility.

One of the challenges faced by the twin island state is the water crisis that results from drought. It creates havoc for farmers, and often leads to water rationing.To address the issue of drought, the youth group has procured funds to construct a 100, 000 gallon water cistern. This cistern is expected to serve the Potters community in times of drought. As well, the group has installed solar panels at the church to help reduce greenhouse emissions.

The fact that the United States of America has recently withdrawn from the Paris Agreement should not deter forward-looking young people. It should, instead, inspire and embolden them to be more imaginative in their quest to find workable solutions in the fight against climate change.

photo credit: illiterat via photopin (license)

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About me: My ambition is to become a cardio-thoracic paediatric surgeon. In preparation for this, I have commenced undergraduate studies focusing on a double major in biology and chemistry. Once I have completed my undergraduate studies, it is my intention to obtain a medical degree, pursue research studies in genetics, and eventually establish a medical services centre.

I have a passion for reading, writing, playing the violin, and engaging in community service projects. I am presently enrolled at Saint Mary’s University, Canada.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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