Climate Change Public Education Campaign Launched

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz (left), listens to a point being made by Principal Director, Climate Change Division, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Una May Gordon, during the launch of the Climate Change Information, Education and Communications campaign at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on April 11.

Story Highlights

  • A public education campaign, aimed at changing Jamaicans’ perceptions and attitudes towards climate change while fostering a more positive approach to the issue by individuals was launched on Wednesday (April 11).
  • Speaking at the launch at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, urged Jamaicans to participate in the engagement.
  • “Our efforts are deliberate in launching this campaign before the start of the 2018 hurricane season. As a small island developing state and, by extension, the Caribbean region, we need to take climate change far more seriously,” he said.

A public education campaign, aimed at changing Jamaicans’ perceptions and attitudes towards climate change while fostering a more positive approach to the issue by individuals was launched on Wednesday (April 11).

Dubbed ‘Climate Change Information, Education and Communications Campaign’, the initiative also aims to educate the public on the link between the impact of climate events on specific livelihoods, in support of adaptation sensitisation and activities in subsectors.

Speaking at the launch at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, urged Jamaicans to participate in the engagement.

“Our efforts are deliberate in launching this campaign before the start of the 2018 hurricane season. As a small island developing state and, by extension, the Caribbean region, we need to take climate change far more seriously,” he said.

Mr. Vaz said while the Government can shape policy and support efforts to integrate climate change into the plan and strategies for all sectors, citizens must be willing to adapt.

“We must all play a major part in deciding the kind of Jamaica we want to live in – a country that is climate-resilient and able to withstand the shocks of climate change, one that is firmly on the path to sustainable development, or one that is always at the mercy of the adverse impacts of climate change because we relied only on luck (rather) than to adapt to the phenomenon,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that the campaign also aims to provide a foundation for a new generation, learning in an experiential and interactive way about climate change and adaptive strategies.

Mr. Vaz further noted that it seeks to create awareness about what is being done by the Government to address climate change and provide visibility for international and local partners.

“This campaign is, therefore, designed to place climate change at the forefront of thinking among the average Jamaican (and) is a welcome addition to the public outreach that has already been done by the Climate Change Division, the Planning Institute of Jamaica and other allied agencies,” he said.

Project Manager, Improving Climate Data and Information Management Project, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Lehome Johnson, said the behaviour change campaign targets vulnerable groups in the country.

These include the disabled community, farmers, women, and persons residing in coastal areas.

“We hope that at the end of (the campaign) it will result in a 20 per cent increase in knowledge, attitudes and practice of Jamaicans, compared to an earlier study, in terms of how we approach climate change,” he said.

Mr. Johnson said extreme weather events and natural disasters have resulted in billions of dollars in losses.

He noted that a report in Zurich, Switzerland, indicates that US$144 billion in losses were caused by natural disasters globally in 2017.

“Of that, $92 billion of the losses were caused by three hurricanes – Erma, Harvey and Maria – that battered the Caribbean and parts of the United States. Those super hurricanes also added to this question that many of us have in our mind – what is happening and how, as individuals or a country, we can adapt to ensure we minimise the impacts of climate change,” he said.

The public education campaign falls under the US$6.8-million Improving Climate Data and Information Management Project, which started in 2015 and will run for five years.

It is funded through the Climate Investment Fund and administered by the World Bank.

The campaign is being undertaken in collaboration with the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

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