Millions of tourists flock to the Caribbean every year to bask in the warm climate and natural beauty. However, while the local people experience these pleasures all year round, they also have to deal with the impact of climate change on their surroundings.
Natural disasters in the Caribbean have become more frequent in recent years, with hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017 being perhaps the best-known examples. And, if climate change continues to increase seawater temperatures, the countries in this region will become even more vulnerable to devastating events like these.
Climate change is a global problem that everybody is responsible for, and many Caribbean countries have taken important steps to work towards a more sustainable future that will preserve their majestic landscapes.
Dominica’s commitment to clean energy
Dominica has been able to pursue many of its sustainability goals using funds it has received via its citizenship by investment programme. One option for those who want to obtain Dominican citizenship is to invest in its Economic Diversification Fund which “goes towards improving projects in the public and private sector which are in need of financial support” in industries such as technology, agriculture and tourism.
One of Dominica’s major successes is its increased adoption of clean energy. Approximately 28% of the country’s electricity is generated from hydropower and wind, which is more than any other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) state. The government is also constructing a geothermal power plant with the aim of making Dominica self-reliant when it comes to energy.
Puerto Rico’s championing of sustainable tourism
Puerto Rico is now considered a major eco-tourist destinationthanks to the efforts the country has made in marketing itself as a sustainable holiday hotspot. It was the first Caribbean destination to institute a green certification programme, which covers goals including sustainable urban design and infrastructure, responsible consumption, and defence of ecosystems on land and sea.
There are many available activities that prioritise the conservation of the natural environment, such as community gardening, coastal cleanups, and protecting the endangered turtles who live there. Agrotourism is also popular, allowing visitors to learn about the production of the food grown there, as well as sample the local cuisine.
Jamaica’s eco-friendly manufacturing
The Jamaican government is keen to attract more sustainable investment as it pursues its Vision 2030 development plan, and one area of focus is the country’s ‘clean beauty’ sector. This involves working with beauty product manufacturers who use ethically sourced ingredients. For example, Jamaican beauty brand Jampro uses local raw materials, such as castor oil, lemon grass, cerassee, aloe vera, sorrel, honey, coconut oil, pimento oil, and Irish moss.
Another priority area is the use of bamboo and other plants to create raw materials. The Bamboo Bioproducts (BPP) project is at the heart of this – the creation of the world’s first fully-integrated bamboo pulp mill. The bamboo will be farmed from sustainably-managed forests and the pulp will then be exported to global markets. This project is estimated to create 1,000 direct jobs in Jamaica and 10,000 indirect jobs.