Climate Change: Colombia & The Caribbean

Another Speech. This one is very recent. I wrote it while in Colombia for Sail For Climate Action. It was a sailing project I was on to sail from Colombia to Europe to then attend a bunch of meetings, conferences, and high-level environmental events. The entire project would’ve lasted 4 months, 2 months sailing, 2 months in Europe. We had to postpone it when we got to Bermuda due to Coronavirus, but we still live on and plan to continue when borders reopen!

Anyway, I will be going more in-depth about that story in another publication. For now, I hope you enjoy this speech I wrote for our sail-out in Colombia!

Describing the way how I feel after such a long journey getting here would take more words than I have time to say. I am humbled by the kindness extended to us by Cartagena, Colombia and for the opportunity to say a few words expressing my thanks from Montserrat and the rest of the Caribbean. I want to tell you more about my country and my role in the Sail for Climate Action Programme. But first, we need to talk about right here, right now, and what you’re doing in Cartagena.

Because honestly, we need change. We need a change of something, something important, something at a level that its effects would be felt all across Colombia and the countries surrounding it. But what kind of change is this? What kind of change are we talking about and looking for?

What do you think? Why do you think I’m here? It’s a lot of questions, and I want you to think about it as you hear my take on answering them.

We need a change, a change of mindset. Not a change of the mindset of the politicians, the rich, the ones in power that can change the word with the snap of their finger or a speech they make. Those people are indeed useful, but not in a way that would change Cartagena that everyone truly benefits. A way that is inclusive of every single person, no matter their background. This change does not come from the so-called “top.”

It’s indeed a change of mindset, but a change of the mindset of you, you and you. We aim, we need, to have you, the people who are listening, understanding that this crisis, this climate crisis is not something that can be solved from the top down. You must feel from your heart that you want your personal and your country’s situation to change for the better. You have to have the courage to open your minds to the climate crisis, to understand that the stats, the news, the protests are real, they’re not a controversy. You have to believe that I traveled 57 hours to reach here, not for my own sake. It’s more than that. My mission here is to help you understand the severity of the climate crisis, how it’s affecting our small islands in the Caribbean and especially Colombia, and why your mindset needs to change if you want your country to still be yours forevermore to come.

Climate change is real, and it’s a reality we’re all facing. Stats from Montserrat already shows its effects, our fishes are getting smaller, and fishers have to go out further to sea to find fish. The sea level is rising, which causes problems for especially vulnerable, low lying Caribbean countries like Antigua. And it only gets worse, Hurricanes, wars, food and water shortages, psychological trauma, disease outbreaks and much, much more is our harsh reality with the increasing temperatures. Countries such as Montserrat and the rest of the Caribbean experience the most severe of these effects first, then your country, and lastly, the main countries who’ve caused this mess in the first place. That’s our reality, and we must understand that we’re all on the short end of this stick.

I can say on behalf of the team that we already feel at home for the few days, weeks, or months we’ve spent here. But, we need to understand the situation that’s unfolding around us if we want to keep our Colombia’s way of life.

Awareness. It’s all about awareness. Even just listening to me speak is creating positive change towards environmental sustainability within your country. By listening, understanding, and most importantly, acting by telling others and adjusting your habits. Cartagena can and will be the catalyst for a radical positive change throughout Colombia. But it starts with you, you, and you.

Tell others about what you’ve learnt, research more about this crisis and help people understand that Climate change is real, and it’s coming hard and fast. Let’s raise the awareness of our beautiful, history-rich and culturally diverse country called Colombia to a level that will bring our people, all our people, from the Caribbean and Colombia, to new heights and visions never seen before. Let’s save our country; let’s save our planet.