Environment – Is that with an ‘E’?

| 11/04/2013

So, we are but a few short weeks away from a free-for-all election at which nobody standing has so far even mentioned the ‘E’ word. That’s “e” for environment, or “ecology” if you’re being choosy. So, let’s start. If you are planning to represent us on May 22, or even if you are voting that day, please answer the following questions. These are not from some outlandish eco-freak – though I have been called that – they are questions that people all over the world are asking themselves just about every day as we lurch forward through the second decade of the 21st Century.

Obviously, first and foremost, do you understand that we are heading into a century of bigger storms, more volatile weather, ocean acidification, rapidly melting icecaps (amongst other things)? Then you must recognize that we are undergoing Climate Change hugely and rapidly and it will impact dramatically on our lives. What plans have you made to deal with this? One simple one would be to fund (through tax breaks, etc.) the implementation of alternative energy projects on an island-wide scale.

Next: Do you or don’t you understand that if we do not protect both our land and sea-based natural resources, then we will no longer be able to continue to live the way we do? If we choose, as we have been doing for the past 20 years, to value concrete more than we value the fragile ecosystems in which we live, then we will not be living here much longer. We are part of a very special ecosystem that we are rapidly destroying. We need it to be protected.

Countries throughout the rest of the world are putting these protective measures in place. Can you commit to doing the same – for the sake of your children and grandchildren?

With this in mind, do you recognize that tourism is one of the pillars of our economy? That being said, if you destroy that pillar, do you seriously expect that we will be able to be sustained by the financial industry when it is gone?

Do you enjoy eating fish – and do you want to continue to go on doing so? Then we need to put in place extended marine protected areas and replenishment zones. They work. Scientific research all over the world has proven this to be so.

And whilewe are at it, give back the maintenance and scientific control of our sea-based resources to the Marine Conservation Board (MRCB). Reverse the decision just made to move control to short-term thinking politicians who are too easily swayed to make decisions that affect our marine resources. Let Caymanians who take a long-term and scientific perspective of our marine ecosystems (the MRCB) make the decisions based on common sense and hard scientific data.

The list seems to be getting longer. Hmmmm. Well, I’ll finish for now with one lasting question that has been on my mind for 25 years:

Do you believe in recycling? Do you recognize that the world is running low on natural resources and that we need to recycle materials we no longer use? If so, then will you put into place island-wide recycling programs for all three islands that reduce the amount of waste we create every day and collect it then separate it, and then ship it to the nearest recycling plants – in the US or wherever is closer … And the added benefit will be the slow elimination of the need for more landfill sites.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The dump is the most immediate environmental concern facing our nation.  The data in the recently published EIA clearly shows how toxic its lack of containment has become to both our well water lense and north sound.  Anyone serious about the environment should read the EIA!  

  2. Anonymouse says:

    I agree with recycling- but not for the reasons of diminishing resources, but for the sake of landfills and the length of time that many of these items that could be recycled take to decompose if at all. 

    I also agree that tourism is a pillar and a portion of that industry relies on preserving the reefs and mangroves. The mangroves are both a nursery and provide shoreline protection against sea surge and erosion. Yes protect the environment and you'll preserve parts of the economy. 

    MRCB Board should be made up of scientists and not politicians. Agreed

    As for climate change- I have my reservations about there being anything dramatic occuring. Like most things in our media, the possibilities of doom and gloom are over-hyped and are closer to fear mongering. In my opinion nature is cyclical, resilient and wil adapt. Some species will be lost, others will evolve. Humans will adapt too- we have a history of doing so. Predicting future storms and their strengths and impacts is hardly possible days ahead so I challenge anyone to predict what will occur in the years and decades ahead. The storms may be stronger, they may not. Human overpopulation in coastal areas will remain an issue as illustrated by storms such as Sandy. I beieve that has more to do with insurance claims increases, deaths etc. than the actual storm which was not a significant event when compared in strength. I will gladly stand on the other side of the equation of climate change, and have diligently copied, cut, and saved all the doom and gloom articles since 1995 when I first started following the topic. And I look forward to comparing them and sharing them with my friends and peers in the latter half of my life and see what, if anything, actually happened over the years. 

    As for natural resources- there are some major shifts occuring and a conference I attended last week paints a rapidly changing picture on oil and gas production. The Bakken Shale oil play in North Dakota and Montana is said to enable the US to be energy self sufficient by 2020. The volumes available in the Alberta Oils Sands place it third in the world for size, with  only 5% of the estimated 170 billion barrels available with current technology being extracted to date. Interestingly in eastern and western Canada wind energy is facing resistance and disatisfaction from residents who at onetime were big fans (no pun intended) of the technology. The 25 year life expectancy, combined with little to speak of in the way of cradle to grave vision for the turbines, and other health claims indicates it is not all smooth sailing for renewable energy sources either. 

    In summary, I agree that action is required on some of the questions by Green Hornet. On others I am content to employ observation, and see if the predictions truly unfold. 



  3. Bill Bryson wonders why.... says:

    It always make me laugh when I hear about "global warming" and how its all the fault of humans. The fact is that we are still very much in an Ice Age, although a shrunken one. At the height of the last glaciation, around 20,000 years ago, about 30% of the Earth's land surface was under ice. 10% still is and a further 14% is in a state of permafrost. 3/4 of all the fresh water on earth is locked up in ice even now.The current ice age started about 40 million years ago and has ranged from murderous to not bad at all. We're living now in the "not bad at all" times. For most of its recent history Earth has lurched violently between periods of warmth and brutal chill. If this subject interests you, suggested reading is A Short History of Everything by Bill Bryson. Bottom line = "global warming" is part of nature and will go back and forth from cold to warmth for perpetuity.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bill Bryson is nothing more than a journalist. A very good one and seems to relish in science journalism but he is not a scientist.

      Try Stephen Hawkings on Climate change or is his writing so far over your head that you just panoic and stick your head in the sand.


      Professor Hawking has issued repeated warnings on climate change (Source: Nasa)

      As cosmologist Stephen Hawking celebrates his 70th birthday he warns that climate change is one of a greatest threats posed to the future of human-kind and the world.

      In an interview ahead of his birthday this Sunday (8 January), Professor Hawking spoke to BBC’s Radio 4 Today Programme and answered questions put to him by listeners.

      He said: “It is possible that the human race could become extinct but it is not inevitable. I think it is almost certain that a disaster, such as nuclear war or global warming will befall the earth within a thousand years.”

      He also said it was essential humans colonise space to allow them to spread across the universe.

      It is a warning Professor Hawking has been sharing for years. Back in 2007 – speaking at the Royal Society in London – he called on scientists to live up to their duty of sharing information about the potential disaster of climate change, referring to it as one of the greatest threats facing human-kind.

      “As we stand at the brink of a second nuclear age and a period of unprecedented climate change, scientists have a special responsibility, once again to inform the public and to advise leaders about the perils that humanity faces,” he said. “As scientists we understand the dangers of nuclear weapons and their devastation effects, and we are learning how human activities and technologies are affecting climate systems in ways that may forever change life on Earth.



      • Just Commentin' says:

        So Hawking thinks that it is "essential humans colonise space to allow them to spread across the universe"?  How could an otherwise seemingly sensible and intelligent a man encourage spreading a blight across an perfectly good universe? Isn't screwing up one planet sufficient? I thought he had more sense and more well-defined sense of moral responsibility to the rest of the universe. I guess not. Oh well.


        Hawking seems to imply that humans are responsible for global warmning and we have it in our hands to mitigate the effects. That being so, if humanity gets to the technological point that we have the ability to colonise space and are likewise responsible for the necessity to colonise space to survive as a species, then we do not deserve the chance to survive and spread our propensity to make war and pollute beyond our own dying planet.


        I should hope that the Klingons, or Romulans, or Vulcans, or Cardassians, or whoever is out there, upon sighting the first Earth vessel approaching will fire their phasers, or photon torpedoes, or Charm Quark Super Soakers, or whatever weapons they use,  and send it where it belongs. If they do not, they will likely live to regret it. Who knows? Maybe they will regard us as the Lionfish of alien species, offer a bounty on our heads and have contests for the best Terran recipe.  "A'tket mol'zdn 'k t'vot zan?" = "Terrans taste like chicken, nah?"

    • Green Hornet says:

      Mr. Bryson is certainly enitiled to his opinion which, I should point out, differs from that of 99% of the world's scientists. They all agree that the current rapid heating of the planet is due entirely to the emissions from humanity's industrialisation of the past 150 years. And, in the past 50 years, primarily from the emissions from fossil fuel consumption.

      • Anonymous says:

        Of course, as yours was and mine is, 46.2% of all statistics are made up, without supportive evidence.  


        ……….. unless you broaden your definition of "scientists" as 'anyone who has studied or is interested in science, in which case, only 37.9% of statistics are made up.  😀


        There is no doubt in my mind that humanity soils everything it touches, nor that we, as a species, have systematically altered and ruined soils, water and the air of much of the planet.   There is much we, as individuals should and can do to affect positive change to our environment;  there is much we, as a species should and can do to affect positive change to our environment.    Carbon credits will do nothing toward those ends, nor will demonising a gas of which the entire planet is dependent upon (CO2).   


        AGM remains a controversial issue, in no small part due to the proven massaging of the statistics and analytical data by the  IPPC, which was done to support their thesis, when the data didn't fit their model.    This is the antithesis of the scientific method.  


        Cimatary cycles, combined with solar cycles are easily documented, and similar elevations of mean temperature are observed in other planets of our solar system.  

    • Anonymous says:

      It is ironic that troglodytes like this risk sending us all back to living in caves.  Perhaps it is driven by jealousy at our intellectual advancement.

      • Anonymous says:

        The independent candidate from West Bay, Andrea Blonde Christian's political platform focuses on the 3E's, Education, Employment and the Environment.

        There are many people concerned about the lack of awareness and passion about the need to preserve and protect the Environment.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what your implying is that we should do nothing?  Natural or man made, sea level is rising, super storm Sandy is blamed on global warming. Do w just give up and die?

      • Anonymous says:

        Clearly the sea level is not rising, and hasn't risen more than imperceptible amounts in last 100 years, and perhaps we may get another inch in the next 100 years.  There are valid anti-pollution arguments to be made, but rapid sea level rise is not one of them.  

        • Bob says:

          I agree with your comment that sea levels are not rising. I'm 66 years old and my parents used to take me to the beach in Bournemouth in the UK when I was a child. 60 years later the sea levels are exactly the same as they were then. Although now a part-time resident on the Brac I have seen no difference in sea levels here in the 22 years I have been coming here.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have to agree with Green Hornet..these matters are important. How many times has man stuck his hand in and tried to alter Mother nature and how many times has he been slapped back..look at the dust bowl in the US, look at the strange stuff going on in china because of pollution, what used to happen in London due to pollution (smog), death of fish life due to chemicals, all kinds of wierd stuff going on. All of it caused by humans and dangerous to those same humans. So some respect is needed.

      I live in a constant battle with myselfwhether to buy property here or not. I would like to, however sea levels will rise (currently) and with no sea defenses even being considered here, prolonged storms and periods of flooding are almost inevitable, alebit that could be 10 or 20 years or more hence-

      Cayman not only needs to think cleaner and understand cleaner, it needs to prepare for much more serious issues…its very existence.

      • Bob says:

        I agree with all that's being said about recycling in Cayman. It's an unbelievable scandal that in 2013 they still throw glass, tin, paper and cardboard etc. into landfill.

    • Anonymous says:

      You see Bill thats what I like about you high level scinetific mind.

      We dont have to worry as we are in an ice age.

      If we are in an ice age now I dont know if mankind will survive when we come out as this planet will be really hot and man may not be able to survive.

  4. Anonymous says:

    but we are caymankind!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      "E" can also be for education.  I recently proposed to our strata members that we implement a recycling program which would have cost each household $10 per month.  The majority of the responses were that if people wanted them to recycle, then they should be paying THEM, not the other way around! How about chipping in to do the right thing for your community?!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The REAL e word is ECONOMY. If people cant pay their bills and feed their familys the most untouched natural environment in the world will be meaningless. It's easy for those who are secure in a monthly paycheck to forget that there are many who can't pay for basic things like food, electricity, water, lunch for their kids, or housing.

    We have to make sure that a balance is reached. We cant undo poor development practices of the past by making it so dificult to develop that we essentially stop development. Nor should we spread fear mongering that the natural environment is about to collapse when the country is only about 15% developed.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right. Not! Did you come from Haiti by any chance? They were also concerned with the high cost of kerosene and propane for cooking, so for ECONOMIC reasons they cut down all of their trees to make cheap charcoal so the poor people would have something to cook with. Unfortunately, with the trees gone the people have died by the thousands in mudslides, and the people are still poor.


      If you believe McKeeva's rhetoric that we need "projects" to employ and feed people then tell me what happens when there is no longer any place left for a "project"?

      • Just Commentin' says:

        Please don't tell me you think they cut down the trees for charcoal by choice because the were too cheap to spend the money on other fuels.

    • Green Hornet says:

      Did you answer any of the questions? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely right! We need to keep developing as we have because then the people who don’t have all that stuff will have it because the development so far has resulted in them not having a good job. Uhm wait. Let me try again.

      Absolutely right! We can’t undo poor development practices, we must continue them. No learning from our mistakes and improving our ways. Otherwise we won’t have the results of poor development practices, i.e., poor developments. Oh, wait, that doesn’t make any sense either.

      Milk & Carrots. I’m going to the beach.