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Financing Preparedness for Climate Disasters

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While this year’s global climate summit continued to discuss the finances required to support mitigation and adaptation, there is now a growing need to assist those regions that have suffered loss and damage. Dr Anjani Ganase summarises the urgent need for dedicated financial flows.   COP 27, the global climate summit – Conference of Parties - brought together representatives of all countries in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt from 6 to 20 November. This follows last year’s meeting COP 26 in Glasgow. The Glasgow Climate Pact - to stay below 1.5 C global temperature rise – precipitated a two-year plan to accelerate endeavors toward net zero, through the themes of mitigation, adaptation, finance and collaboration. One year after this Pact, here are some highlights of the Sharm-El Sheikh Implementation Plan.   The Latest Science The IPCC sixth assessment report released in the beginning of 2022 describes a code red for climate emergency and the need for drastic reduc

Winter Arrivals in Southwest Tobago

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Tobago always attracts special visitors. Faraaz Abdool is looking for those flying in from far. He tells us where to expect the birds that are wintering in Southwest Tobago. All photos by Faraaz Abdool   The populous southwest end of Tobago is not only a hotspot for human activity, but for various other forms of indigenous fauna. This area of tiny yet magnificent Tobago is home to countless small businesses, guest houses, and several larger hotels. Nightclubs, yoga studios, restaurants, and many more all work together within a tight radius from the international airport, ensuring that travellers can have all their needs met in walking distance.   Humans are only the latest arrivals, among many that have been coming for millennia to SW Tobago. Presently, however, this teeters precariously on the edge of becoming another historical record. Amidst all the cries against ecological destruction, that which has occurred in SW Tobago carries more significance than most.   As its name

Managing Shared Natural Spaces

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  On small islands like ours, natural spaces are shared with wild flora and fauna. Dr Anjani Ganase discusses some human impacts that we all should be mindful of.   Human populations have expanded around the world, not only in cities and towns, but spreading into wilderness areas. It’s time that we learn to share urban spaces as well as to respect all natural spaces whether these are actively protected or not.   In Trinidad and Tobago, there is a surge in outdoor activities as people see the appeal of dancing/ working out/ being under the stars, with a picturesque backdrop of tropical forests, beaches and lagoons. Large group hikes (100+ persons) and outdoor fetes have become popular. On one occasion, I observed Pigeon Point beach in the days after a beach fete. Keep in mind that Pigeon Point occurs in Trinidad and Tobago’s only marine protected area with its unique habitat and biodiversity. Walking along the beach, I collected handfuls of cable ties, pieces of wires, beer bott

Coral Bleaching in our Backyard

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Shivonne Peters, marine scientist, reports on coral bleaching in Tobago’s iconic Buccoo Reef. Trinidad and Tobago, like other countries in the Caribbean region, is under a coral bleaching watch, the fifth occasion for 2022. As ocean temperatures continue to warm, the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in its October report indicated that the country is currently under a Bleaching Alert Level 2, meaning that widespread bleaching leading to coral mortality is expected. These conditions are expected to extend throughout December with reports indicating coral bleaching is currently occurring in reefs along Tobago’s north-east and south-west coastlines. Bleaching of the Fire Corals ( Millepora ) and Staghorn Corals ( Acropora cervicornis ) was observed in the Buccoo and Charlotteville reefs earlier this month. Sustained warm ocean temperatures will mean continuing decline and disaster for Tobago’s coral reefs. Coral bleaching occurs when the coral - marine invertebrates compr

The Tobago Art Trail

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  Experience Tobago culture this month: the energized Carnival called the Freedom Festival October 28 to 30, or the more contemplative Art Trail to be revealed November 3. Pat Ganase reports.   As some flock to the Tobago Carnival this weekend, others may choose to get away from the revelry. They may seek quiet in nature on the cool forested Main Ridge or the beaches that punctuate the coast of northeast Tobago. You can escape into the forest from Roxborough (on the east) or from Parlatuvier or Bloody Bay (on the west coast). But if you choose to tour the beaches, you might start at Castara following the Northside (coastal) road through Englishman’s Bay, Parlatuvier, Bloody Bay, L’Anse Fourmi, Man o War Bay all on the Caribbean coast. At Charlotteville, the Northside Road runs into the Windward Road and you climb the highest part of the island to descend on the Atlantic coast, Speyside, King’s Bay (at Delaford), Roxborough, Belle Garden. This route also takes you on the North Eas

Timeless Travellers

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  Thousands of shorebirds set out on their maiden voyage from the frozen north to winter in the south. You’ll see many of them bobbing and running on beaches along Tobago’s coasts. Faraaz Abdool, birding enthusiast and photographer, champions the cause of creatures whose annual migrations take them from the north pole to the south in search of food. All photos by Faraaz Abdool     As the Earth hurtles around the Sun, its axis angles away from the flaming giant at the centre of our solar system plunging the northernmost regions into frigid darkness. The frosty fingers of winter crisscross land and sea, uniting them under white, featureless sheets of ice and snow. It is the boreal winter, a time associated with indoor activities and reunited families. We may huddle indoors making every attempt to insulate ourselves from the natural elements, but for the animals, their existence is the antithesis of this.   Hundreds of thousands of eggs hatch on the Arctic tundra each summer: mi

The Age of Humans

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Dr Anjani Ganase looks at the planetary boundaries that humans have impacted, moving the earth towards a state that may no longer be hospitable for our species.   The Holocene Epoch marks 11,700 years of recorded human history in which we thrived in a stable environment and ecology. This allowed significant human evolution and in the last 100 years, saw the advance of technology and industry.   In that short time, humans have drastically altered the global environment through resource extraction and pollution of our air and water ways. Some of these conditions have become destabilized resulting in sudden loss of biodiversity, habitats, resources and even shifting climate. Scientists have collated such environmental changes between 1950 to now, to identify the most important boundaries that should not be crossed for the sake of human survival.   The planetary boundaries framework is science-based analysis that observes the risk associated with human activities in