Caribbean States Unite in Song to Promote the Climate Change Position of Small Islands
The threat to small island states being posed by climate change is the focus of a song commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the CARICOM Secretariat.
Entitled “1.5 To Stay Alive”, the song is written and performed by Barbadian performance poet Adisa “AJA” Andwele. AJA is also the UNDP Spokesperson for Peace and Poverty Eradication for
The theme of the song refers to the Centigrade degree limit to which global surface temperatures can rise before Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are severely compromised in their ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), of which Caribbean islands are members, and the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) joined to form a coalition of about 80 countries demanding that global efforts be concentrated on keeping temperature increases under 1.5°C to lessen the devastating impacts on these highly vulnerable countries.
These impacts include sea level rise with accompanying coastal erosion and destruction of coastal infrastructure, damage or death to coral reefs and fisheries, saline intrusion into aquifers thus diminishing freshwater supplies, and more intense hurricanes and storm surges. The continued social and economic survival and environmental integrity of these countries, particularly low-lying islands such as the
AJA’s poetic lyrics bring to the fore with vivid imagery the fears and concerns of people living on small islands. Some of these impacts are already being experienced and threatening the homes and livelihoods of these populations. As leaders of developed and larger developing nations are currently proposing to commence climate change negotiations around 2°C, others are adamant that this cannot be the level of minimum acceptable risk since it ignores the human rights of millions at the outset. As President Mohamed Nasheed of the
Forming the culmination of the Bali Road Map charted in December 2007, these negotiations will occur at the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP XV) in
“1.5 To Stay Alive” is written in the rapso tradition, which combines poetry performed to calypso and other rhythms from the
It can be downloaded for free at www.myspace.com/mousikeproductions. In addition, it can be accessed at the websites of the respective organizations as follows: http://www.bb.undp.org, http://www.caricom.org, or http://caribbeanclimate.bz