Jamaica’s road to climate resilience
Coming from the Caribbean and having studied at the University of the West Indies at Mona in Jamaica, I have seen up close how escalating physical climate risks are impacting lives and livelihoods.
As a student, I first heard the vivid phrase “river come down” expressed by Jamaican friends and family, encapsulating how, after periods of great rainfall, the swollen rivers would indeed “come down” and disrupt lives and livelihoods through flooding, making people more vulnerable, disrupting school and education, literally washing away economic activity.
Today, because of climate change, not only is the river coming down with greater frequency, but the sea is also rising. Beaches all over the Caribbean are being eroded, including Hellshire Beach, one of Jamaica’s most popular, which is being swallowed due to a wide range of physical climate change impacts. A stark and graphic warning of the future that awaits us all if we fail to act - environmentally, economically, socially and culturally.
In many ways the saying “river come down” was prophetic of what we face today. All over the world, because of physical climate risks, the river is coming down for each of us. And, as Bob Marley reminds - “when the rail falls, it don’t fall on one man housetop”. We are in this together and it is important to collaborate to find solutions that will make us all more resilient. Adequate supporting flows of finance will be a critical enabler.