The need to protect nature and live harmoniously with the environment has always been a strong part of Maroon cultural heritage, and it has become the defining economic characteristic today as the Maroon communities across the Caribbean seek to redefine themselves in the 21st Century: building a bridge between Africa and the Caribbean, the South-South Climate Change Initiative is one of our cornerstone projects going forward.
At the macro level, we must make a clear distinction between the mandate of highly-industrialized nations to decrease their carbon emissions versus the mandate of African and Caribbean leaders not to create new emissions while pursuing their necessary developmental policies. Emerging markets across continental Africa and the Caribbean need not be focused on carbon emission reduction as they collectively produce less than 4% of global carbon emissions; of course, there is a need to decrease the usage of fossil fuel consumption, especially burning wood and coal, but ultimately our commitment must be towards policies of sustainable development.We have the sun and winds in abundance.
At the micro level and for Accompong in particular, protecting the ecology within the cockpit country is an absolute priority. The current environmental damage across the Island of Jamaica through bauxite mining has been enormous, and under no circumstances will this behaviour be tolerated within the Maroon territory of the cockpit country. The Caribbean community must learn to redefine its relationship with nature, both on land and at sea. The elimination of mountain terrains through bauxite mining is not environmentally sustainable. Moreover, the monetary cost of “cleaning-up the ecological mess” of such mining has already exceeded the fledgling economic benefits.
It is in the spirit of sustainable development that we recognize the chance to adopt a completely clean and green energy strategy as the foundation for future economic development across Africa and the Caribbean. And indeed, the window of opportunity has never been better. Climate change is a unique opportunity for Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora: It is an opportunity to leap forward and take a leadership role in a new era of human social development and technological change. The continent must consolidate its efforts in the pursuit of diverse, reliable, affordable, renewable and clean energy.