Bela Supports 1.5°C to stay alive – Climate Justice for the Caribbean

Bela has joined the Campaign “1.5°C to stay alive – Climate Justice for the Caribbean” initiated by Saint Lucia Poet Kendal Hippolyte who issues urgent call to Caribbean artists.

Below is the campaign information, as well as Bela’s purpose for joining this campaign.

SAINT LUCIA POET KENDEL HIPPOLYTE ISSUES URGENT CALL TO CARIBBEAN ARTISTS:

“The arts can make us act”, said award-winning Saint Lucian poet Kendel Hippolyte on October 11th, 2015 at the launch of a Caribbean campaign on Climate Justice, “and we need action in response to the threats, the realities of climate change”. The purpose of the campaign, dubbed #1point5tostayalive, seeks to raise awareness, momentum and popular support – a broad movement in favour of the Caribbean’s negotiating positions in the lead-up to the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris in December 2015.

“The message is 1.5 to stay alive”, said Saint Lucia’s Minister of Sustainable Development Dr. James Fletcher, because the Caribbean needs a legally binding global agreement that keeps temperature increases below 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100. The Caribbean also wants this agreement to provide adequate, predictable and accessible climate financing to support adaptation, mitigation and other climate change-related needs in poor and vulnerable countries, including small island states.

I (Bela) am an Artist from Martinique living in Barbados and I have decided to join this campaign by creating a Series called “High Tide”.

Bela

This series is about coral reefs which are at risk in the Caribbean due to coastal development, watershed-based sediment and pollution, marine based threats, overfishing and rising sea temperature. Coral bleaching events – the most direct evidence of stress from global climate change on Caribbean marine biodiversity – are on the rise: the bleaching happens when ocean waters warm up, prompting algae living within coral tissue to leave. This results in the coral losing its vibrant color, turning completely white over time as more algae leave.

BelaLosing coral reefs has an ecological, social and economic effect. Without coral reefs, fish will not have the habitat they need to thrive, cutting back on food sources for people. Opportunities for tourism are also reduced since underwater treasures in these reefs attract visitors from all over the word to dive. When storms come, reefs also act as protective buffers along coastlines, absorbing wave energy and keeping wave damage to coastal locations to a minimum.

The fate of Caribbean corals is not beyond our control and there are some steps that we can take to help them recover by having sustainable fishing practices, reducing the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Also restoration and conservation efforts can be made in order to preserve heat-tolerant reefs and initiate artificial propagation of corals (reef-building coral process).

That is why it is so important to join this campaign to express support to the positions adopted by the countries of the Caribbean during COP21 negotiations.
Beatrice Mellinger (aka Bela).