Posted December 18th 2020

By Auliana Poon

2 Minute Read

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The Environmental
Footprint of a Rasta
And the Injustices of the Rich

The recent unprecedented hurricanes that have been devastating small islands of the Caribbean are signs that global warming is real. Hurricane Maria devastated many Caribbean islands such as the Commonwealth of Dominica and Puerto Rico. What Hurricane Dorian did to the Bahamas was astounding and downright frightening. 

It is clear that the alarming negative environmental impacts that islands are sustaining – rising sea levels that threaten to submerge islands in the Maldives; mega hurricanes that devastate complete islands; coral bleaching that threaten coral reefs in the Caribbean and the Pacific, are all caused by the eminent threat of Global Warming. 

Unfair Distribution of Environmental Adversities

However, the damages caused to these small island developing states (SIDS) is not derived from their own environmental wrongdoings. 

 

In fact, these islands sustain more than their fair share of environmental adversities.  Island States’ attempts towards saving the Planet are not related to the damages that they suffer.  Consider the Commonwealth of Dominica. This very small island of under 74,000 people was hit hard by Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 and again, less than two years later, was pummelled by Hurricane Maria in mid 2017. On the heels of these devastating storms, the Commonwealth of Dominica declared that it will become the first Climate Resilient and Zero Carbon nation in the world, a feat that not even more developed nations are even attempting to achieve. 

Scotts Head, Dominica (Courtesy www.DiscoverDominica.com)

More Research is Required to Measure Environmental Injustices

At the same time, islands such as Dominica and the Bahamas, cannot seek justice through pity alone.  There needs to be more research and clear data to measure the impact, for example of a Rasta’s way of life in the Bahamas, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, etc. compared to the environmental footprint of a rich person living in a developed country.  

How many Rastas will it take to generate the same level of carbon footprint and to reach the same level of environmental destruction as a rich consumer from a developed country? Is it 100, 1000, or 10000?

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