Tuesday 25 June, 2019

Treasure Beach takes up Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator challenge

With fishing, farming and community-based tourism as the way of life for residents of the rural, coastal community of Treasure Beach stakeholders are keen for Treasure Beach to be a climate conscious community.

Through the Special Climate Change Adaptation Fund - AP&FM Project PPCR, Do Good Jamaica received a grant from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) to do just that. 

“This is a tight knit community on the climate change front line where the lives and livelihoods of the residents are inextricably linked to the environment. Resilience is embedded in the culture.  So, with the support of the community, we applied for a grant to give the residents tools to become more resilient, adapt and grow” explained Deika Morrison, co-founder of Do Good Jamaica.

In explaining his support for the project, Jason Henzell, chairman of Breds Treasure Beach Foundation and Jakes Hotel said, “Since it was founded in 1998, Breds Treasure Beach Foundation has been working to ensure that this special corner of Jamaica is developed in a sustainable manner. Partnering with every member of the Treasure Beach family to protect our environment is integral to that goal.”

So far, the grant has facilitated the creation of a Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment and Disaster Risk Management Plan by professional environmental consultants. This process involved soliciting the experiences and perspectives of a broad cross-section of community and government stakeholders.

Given the recent announcement of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator (CCSA) initiative to make the region the world’s first climate-smart zone, the project is timely as the objectives of the Accelerator align with the community’s vision of sustainability.

“As Jamaica’s home of community tourism, Treasure Beach embraces initiatives which maintain its allure for Jamaican and overseas visitors. Most recently, Treasure Beach became one of Jamaica’s first recycling communities.  The conscious traveller knows the significance of recycling and conservation and values those programs in a destination.  We are fully on board!” said Rebecca Wiersma, Chairman of the Treasure Beach Destination Management Organization and Owner of Treasure Tours Ltd.

The next step in the project will see Do Good Jamaica accelerating climate change awareness with outreach tailored to Treasure Beach’s diverse demographic groups.

“Without exception everybody we have spoken to so far has asked for more information about what climate change would mean for them, and importantly what could they do about it.  The mention of Accelerator energized the participants of our first sensitization session even more,” said Morrison.

Eager to adapt and grow, stakeholders are actively exploring partnership opportunities to achieve sustainable growth. Emphasizing this, Denise Wedderburn of the Treasure Beach Women’s Group noted, “The members of Treasure Beach Women’s Group endorse and support this initiative which matches our mission to empower local artisans and craft persons. We know that growing the green and blue economies can only enhance the earning potential for our community.”

In announcing the CCSA’s Speed Award, Usain Bolt, an ambassador for the Accelerator, encouraged everyone to move hastily towards creating the world’s first climate-smart zone.  Treasure Beach is on the fast track to helping the region get there.   

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