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September 2017, featuring Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria and Category 4 Hurricane José, has been the most active month of any Atlantic hurricane season on record. The Caribbean is still reeling from the monstrosities and will continue to do so for years to come. Many Caribbean islands were annihilated in their wake. Barbuda is now uninhabited for the first time in 300 years; as of October 6th, a little over two weeks after Maria, 89% of Puerto Rico still has no power and 44% has no access to potable water; and Dominica’s loss of life totaled over 27. This just scratches the surface.

Hurricane Irma strengthened as it swept across the Caribbean (Photo credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

Caribbean Unity through Global Climathon 2017

Together, we are stronger. We can rally the voices of many to move the hands of the decision makers. Recognising this, IAMovement and Mora Carbon coordinated to bring Climate-KIC’s Global Climathon 2017 to Port of Spain (POS), Trinidad and Tobago.

POS will become a hub for climate advocacy, joining over 100 cities around the world partaking in the movement. Founded by Climate-KIC, the European Union’s main climate innovation initiative, the Climathon will bring together climate change-related challenges of the world’s cities with the people who have the passion and ability to solve them. Together, with the commitment to education at the heart of finding solutions to climate change, public and private entities will empower the next generation of climate leaders.

The Global event is in its third year and has grown exponentially. Under Climate-KIC’s mandate to integrate education, entrepreneurship, and innovation resulting in the connected and creative transformation of knowledge and ideas into economically viable products or services to help mitigate climate change, Climathon 2017 will promote brainstorming over a 24-hour period to generate solution-oriented approaches to climate impacts in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.  

Co-founder of IAMovement, Jonathan Barcant informed Climate Tracker that “Though #Heart4Climate is beginning in T&T, we are inviting our Caribbean brothers and sisters to join in by creating a #Heart4Climate at any time over this month, or alongside us on Saturday Oct 28th.”

He encourages everyone to share pictures on social media using #Heart4Climate and #HelpHopeHurricanes, so that a collective message will be sent to Caribbean leaders that climate action is needed urgently –  “both mitigation, by working on Paris Climate Agreement goals, and adaptation, by re-building our damaged islands with much greater resilience.”

In POS, the event takes place from 12:00 pm on Friday 27th until 12:00 pm on Saturday 28th October and will focus on sparking Urban Agriculture and the Greening of Port of Spain, in an effort to promote Food Security in Trinidad & Tobago.

The Climathon culminates with the creation of a #Heart4Climate to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  Members of the public wishing to join the post-Climathon #Heart4Climate event are invited to meet at the Queen’s Park Savannah in front of Queen’s Royal College at 10:00 AM on Saturday 28th October. We will send a clear message of solidarity.

While all our Caribbean neighbours have acknowledged the realities of Climate Change and mankind’s need to act, Trinidad and Tobago is one of the 29 countries out of 197 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change who have not ratified the Paris Climate Agreement – putting us among the 15% minority of countries who are not seriously committing to global climate action.

This climate conversation is past the point of being necessary, it is now critical. Come out and show your support as we join our voices and hearts for climate action.

Dizzanne Billy

About Dizzanne Billy

Dizzanne Billy is the Caribbean Outreach Manager at Climate Tracker. She is a Content Creator, Creative Director, and Digital Marketing professional. Dizzanne graduated from the University of the West Indies with an MSc. in Global Studies, focusing her research on global environmental governance. She is passionate about writing, environmental advocacy, and learning about different cultures.