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The Art of Caribbean Regional Resilience

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My essay is on the topic of “The Art of Caribbean Regional Resilience. ” It gives a description of what it is to be resilient at a time when many of our regional island territories in the Caribbean were devastated by hurricanes, such as Irma and Maria. Such natural disasters can bring a country, a population and its government to economic, financial, social, human welfare and natural resources disparity. However, those Caribbean islands that express resilience in times of natural disaster can and do forge ahead to establish and build a climate-resilient Caribbean through unification, preparation and adaptation in their immediate environments. We can look no further than regional Caribbean islands, such as St. Maarten and Dominica, whom although experience destructive environments from hurricanes Irma and Maria, rose to the challenge of demonstrating resilience.

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In a nutshell, our Caribbean region can take appropriate measures to sustain resilience in light of the effects of climate change. In the wake of continuous climate change and natural disasters, such as those experience by that of St. Maarten and Dominica, I can say from personal experience that we can only demonstrate resilience, but we cannot stop natural disasters in the Caribbean regions. What we can do, however, is acquire the knowledge necessary to prepare ourselves for what may or may not come to our Caribbean regions now and in the future. Having an opportunity to be a part of the term “resilience” made me mentally strong. The Oxford dictionary gives us quite an interesting definition of the word resilience. It describes resilience as having the capacity to go through the recovery process in a speedy manner in wake of difficulties or toughness. In other words, how do Caribbean regional islands measure themselves and bounce back in times of natural disasters and adversity.

I believe that the need to strengthen the resilience of our Caribbean regional people, our environment, our infrastructures and our economy is very important against the intensifying impacts of climate change. This can never be over-emphasized, especially when looking at how hurricane Irma ruined the infrastructure of St. Maarten, Dominica as well as other region Caribbean islands. Hurricane stricken Caribbean regions were faced with the reality of adapting to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress, such as family relationships and financial obligations. In wake of our experiences with hurricane stricken Caribbean regions, we could not have just sit around, look and worry about the quantity of destruction in our region. We had to get up and do things that would bring us back to being a resilient Caribbean region. We had to learn tough lessons and take the time to explore how to return to resilience and demonstrate our true character through hard times. Every person, every street, and every town was affected in one way or another by the severe climatic events that were both to the Caribbean region by hurricane Irma and Maria.

In October 13, 2017, a high–level roundtable was held by the World Bank IMF Group on the recovery and resilience in the Caribbean post hurricane Irma and Maria. These devastating hurricanes both setbacks for about 40 million people living in the Caribbean region that bought about unspoken communication, slashed water and electricity and provided real treats to economic development throughout the region. Having resilience is the perfect message to bringing a regional audience together and a testimony to our faith in people and our Caribbean regional governments. It offers an opportunity to renovate. Our best practices should be our starting front. In other words, we need to unite, prepare, and adapt to change in the wake of a natural disaster resulting from climate change and other natural disasters. Being able to unite, prepare and adapt to change depends on that specific Caribbean regional island situation. In fact regions of the Caribbean cannot respond or is expected to recover and bounce from any type of disaster without have an integrated approach and support that is given by the international community as mentioned at the October 13, 2017, high–level roundtable meeting held by the World Bank IMF Group.

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To be resilient within our Caribbean region simply means to have a positive outlook and find opportunities to grow and understand that setbacks are a part of the growing pains in becoming a resilient Caribbean region. Seph Fontane Pennock in his study on the principles, practices, and policies that form the basis of PositivePsychology, emphasize ways in which people can develop resilience after natural disasters, such as those that many experienced post hurricane Irma and Maria crisis in the Caribbean regions. He reveals that if people are challenge with crisis and has no emotion or distress displayed, then they cannot be resilient. To be resilient in his thinking is to fail miserably and feel the emotions of disaster and survive to see another day. Simply put, resilience is the ability to adapt with uncertainties, such as tragedy, difficulty and trauma and to grow with adversity.

The American Physiological Association provided several resources on how unification, preparation and adaptation plays critical role in the wake of climate change and how natural hazards challenges a population and its country to build resilience. The association proposed making connections and building social networks, avoid the tendency to view crises as impossible challenges, accept that natural disaster is a natural and unavoidable part of life. Therefore, one should move in the direction of realistic goals and take decisive moves that will assist in facing challenges. We should look for opportunities for self-discovery, nurture a wonderful view of one self and abilities, keep things in point of view and in context and maintain a hopeful outlook on life. It is about spreading unconscious resilience across the Caribbean region. Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell indicated in an article “Building the Caribbean’s Climate Resilience to Ensure Basic Survival”, creating resilience to climate change, natural disasters and environmental modifications are not only essential and urgent, but it is also a fundamental requirement for ensuring our fundamental survival as a human beings. We assured that finding the right channel to that encourages flexibility and efficiency would ensure they reach those that have been affected. In the Caribbean region, there are critical measures that should or being taken to address the effects of natural disasters on some territorial islands with the Caribbean. We can say that each natural hazard in the Caribbean region leaves a footprint of evidence that tells us of the importance of making concrete planning and investment decisions that may contribute to the vulnerability and eventual the risk of disaster.

There is a need for the strengthening of natural resources to protect communities and ecosystems in order for them to become more resilient in times of naturals disasters or climate change. There are several regional Caribbean countries that are a part of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) that addresses water, land and biodiversity resource management as it relates to climate change. Other Caribbean countries are involved in projects such as the GEF-IWEco where efforts are being made to advance to enhance opportunities for communities that can improve ecosystem and management of coastal water resources, sustainable lands and forestry. While these are challenging obstacles, improving social and ecological resilience continues to be address. These are endeavors being made to move from sustainable development to climate-smart sustainable development as discussed in article on Building the Caribbean’s Climate Resilience to Ensure Basic Survival (July 2018).

Some Caribbean regional islands are currently participating in the Organization of Eastern States (OES) which is a part of a subgroup under the Cartagena Convention that addresses environmental protection and development of the marine areas within the Caribbean region as part of a resilient effort. For example, Grenada and Dominica has made tremendous steps in addressing resilience due to climate change and natural disaster by having ministries of resilience, the environment, forestry, urban renewal and disaster management.

The Caribbean region has been taking steps to embed resilience in its planning. The strategy embraces key sectors such as Agriculture, Tourism, Health, Education, Finance, and Physical and Environmental Planning. It places increased focus on harmonizing disaster risk reduction and climate change considerations. There are challenges that the Caribbean regions are facing in light of natural hazards. Natural disasters can bring a country, a population and its government to economic, financial, social, human welfare and natural resources disparity. However, those Caribbean islands that express resilience in times of natural disaster can and do forge ahead to establish and build a climate-resilient Caribbean through unification, preparation and adaptation in their immediate environments. What we can do is acquire the knowledge necessary to prepare ourselves for what may or may not come to our Caribbean regions now and in the future. Resilience is having the capacity to go through the recovery process in a speedy manner in wake of difficulties and adversity. We can say that each natural hazard in the Caribbean region leaves a footprint of evidence that tells us of the importance of making concrete planning and investment decisions. This is the “Art of Caribbean Regional Resilience.”

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