According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ocean acidification is the reduction in the pH of the ocean over an extended period of time.
This is caused primarily by the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Earth’s atmosphere. The ocean is one of the Earth’s largest natural carbon sinks and absorbs more than 25% of the carbon dioxide that humans put into the air.
Ocean acidification challenges food and agriculture production. It affects the health of fisheries stocks. The increase in carbonic acid, which causes higher acidity, mainly near the surface of the ocean, inhibits shell growth in marine life and is a suspected cause of reproductive disorders in fish.
Grenada’s fishermen have recorded lower quantities in fish catches over the past few years (Brown 2015). Not having as much fish to purchase has changed family livelihoods, income and nutrition practices directly and indirectly. Fish prices have increased as a result of lower supply to feed demand. More families now eat more meat and dairy products.
An online article published by the New York Times lists the production of red meat and dairy as being highly carbon-intensive, leading to continued high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
How sustainable is it to spend more money on food that is not as healthy and consume food which, when produced, increases the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere? I have a moral obligation to share the message of climate change with everyone in my country. When ecosystems, livelihoods and human health are impacted negatively a country suffers from a loss of collective and individual resources and diminished social value.
Grenada submitted new climate action plans to the UN Framework on Climate Change in September 2015 . The establishment of our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions is a step in the right direction. The key to success is how fast we move collectively and individually to implement mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Grenada recognises the need to take an integrated approach to adaptation by linking local activities with national policies and sector specific experiences. Our country’s INDC’s list four climate change adaptation strategies. Strengthening institutional frameworks; building coastal resilience; improving water resource management; and building the resilience of local communities.
Grenada re-established the National Climate Change Committee to provide guidance and support for climate change activities. Our country seeks access to international climate change funding such as the World Bank ‘Debt For Nature’ Swap project. Grenada has prepared an integrated coastal zone management policy and management system, with the view to preserving and enhancing coastal ecosystems and ecosystem services while enabling social and economic development (2015).
The Government collaborated with several public and private sector partners in Q1 2017 and signed the Grenada Water Stakeholders Platform. The goal of this being to reduce water risks for the public and private sectors and communities in Grenada.
Public awareness, education focused on behaviour change and the will to co-create meaningful change are ways we can assist to reduce climate change impacts. The global challenge of climate change is everyone’s business — policy makers and citizens. We all can act together, differently and now, to contain global warming limits to less than 2.0 degrees Celsius by 2020.
Embrace Grenada’s vision as a small island developing state and learn to live our climate change promise of “1.5 to Stay Alive”.