Seems as the local weather is behaving predictably at this time of the year this time around and Grenadians are able to engage happily in their customary home gardening and commercial farming. For perhaps more than a decade, people who farmed for a living, subsistence or as a hobby, have found themselves annually wondering when they would be able to plant their crops since the weather patterns are so unpredictable.
In the past one could safely anticipate the coming of the rains and therefore prepare for their planting. In fact, traditionally Grenadians set aside the day called Corpus Christi as the beginning of the planting season. Corpus Christi being a public holiday in our part of the world, people use it to either prepare their plot for planting or actually doing their first planting.
Until recent years, persons could take that day for granted because almost without doubt the rains would have started, the soil would be softened and would be ideal for planting. Over the last almost two decades however, things started to become not so predictable. The annual rains would begin and stop either earlier than usual or later than usual.
Those who plant for a living or a hobby and had no access to irrigation facilities had to play a waiting game; waiting until they were satisfied that the rainy season had started before beginning their planting. Many are the stories of persons who planted after one or two showers only to have their seeds or seedlings scorched by the sun, which returned with violence after the few exploratory showers.
The unpredictability of not just Caribbean but global weather, has been largely attributed to the phenomenon referred to as global warming. Global warming is the term used to describe a gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and its oceans, a change that is believed to be permanently changing the Earth’s climate.
According to scientists, global warming is caused by a variety of gases and materials in our atmosphere; including huge amounts of carbon dioxide from human activities such as the extraction and burning of fossil fuels and the clearing of forests. Researchers have determined human-induced global warming is happening, is dangerous to human health, plants, and animals, and must be stopped.
As have been evidenced, in many other ways, Grenada and its neighbours are not immune from the challenges faced by more prominent and influential countries. Just as how we are being negatively impacted by rising crime and other social ills, so we are being battered and buffeted by the negative life changes wrought by global warming. As small countries with limited land space, nations like Grenada are particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming and so have more reason to be careful of what we do and how we interact with our environment. We may not have anything to do with much of the activities that lead to global warming but there are some things that we do to our own environment that can change it forever. As inhabitants of a small island space, it is important that we heed all warnings to be careful how we deal with the space that we have. As we speak, islands in certain parts of the world are disappearing under water because of rising sea levels caused by a warming world. There are some major cities that are predicted to be partly under water before long and authorities are presently considering ways of existing in the changed environment.
Right here in Grenada there are several areas that have already been negatively affected by rising tides and consequent disappearing land space. Whole beaches have already vanished. Coastal roads that have for generations been integral parts of various communities are now impassable. In Carriacou a cemetery has been claimed by the sea and certain large tracts of coastal lands have been washed into the sea.
Because the causes of these events are not largely local, they seem irreversible but as natives we still have the responsibility to do all that we can to minimise the effects and not add to the causes. Back to the issues of farming, whether commercially or to augment the dinner table. The importance of agriculture has not diminished one bit over the years. Those who farm commercially are engaged in a precious undertaking that a developing country cannot do without. All commercial farmers should make a commitment to constantly improve on the professionalism of their operations and know that what they are doing is not simply a job but fulfilling a crucial role in the country’s development.
Those who farm for food are also involved in a very valuable pastime. They are ensuring that their family eats more healthily while also saving lots of money that could be spent on other things. As climate and weather continue to change and become unpredictable, we as citizens have to learn to make the adjustments as well and live in harmony with our surroundings. We have to get what we need out of the ecosystem without destroying it and increasingly understanding the environment in which we live in order to get the most out of it.