Climate Change is no subtle matter. Barbados is among the long list of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that are heavily impacted by the consequences of climate change. Consequences such as hurricanes and sea level rise have impacted Caribbean nations by dealing extensive damage and amplifying pre-existing issues like unemployment and poverty.
These climatic events can potentially impact the economy by inducing loss of tourism revenue and excessive infrastructure damage which will cost the nation millions of dollars. It is no secret that some groups within society are impacted more than others especially vulnerable groups such as youth. At the rate in which climate change is happening, the youth of this country will eventually be faced with greater difficulties and hardships. This disproportionate reality is the general focus of climate justice. Climate Justice aims to addresses the disproportionate impacts of climate change on vulnerable persons by acknowledging that the effects are not evenly distributed among social groups within society.
Climate Justice also recognizes that vulnerable nations like Barbados have contributed significantly less to climate change than developed nations. However, disparities within societies must also be addressed. As time progress, eventually the youth will become the future farmers, fishers, and general workers of Barbados.
Subsequently, the continuous economic implications and infringement of rights that will consequently be inflicted on this nation, will further restrict the economy. Our young citizens will then have to survive within these difficult conditions which is generally not fair. Evidently, the cost of living which include food, gas, appliances, housing, and transport will gradually increase. These projected increases will eventually lead to higher rates of violence, crime, and poverty.
A study done by the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification of the southern-western corridor of Barbados, identified high levels of vulnerability in our economy and environment against climate change. The effects of climate change have increased the frequency of heat waves within the region and has subjected our marine ecosystems to tremendous pressure. The environment is closely linked to livelihoods within Barbados and any pressure placed on these environments will be felt by the economy. Therefore a decline in fish production and crop production will severely impact the Agriculture sector.
Reports have indicated that 40 percent of employment in Barbados is within the tourism sector, and it is probable that majority are young people. The tourism sectors are predominantly on the coast and highly susceptible to coastal erosion and financial loss.
These indicators represent a glimpse of what the future generations will face. Therefore, changes must be made, and measures must be implemented to secure the interest of the citizens of Barbados and its vulnerable groups. Climate Change has shown its face in many forms and will continue to spread its wings. Therefore, our priority must be to fortify the voice of the youth and become resilient.
Thus, on 6th November 2022, The Caribbean Youth Environment Network in Barbados will be organizing a climate justice walk/run entitled “Walk Fuh Yuh Future“. This walk is specifically designed to raise awareness of climate justice and the threats of climate change with a general focus on the important role youth play in this fight. The youth are our future, and if they are not catered to, then our future is lost.