Recording Artistes call for strategic actions to ‘Cool Down Jamaica’ amid apparent local temperature rise.

Recommit to rekindling music message advocacy for climate action 8 years after successful Paris Agreement outing.

June 30, 2023
Artistes plant trees at UNDP front lawn and call for more trees

UNDP has joined the National Tree Planting Initiative supported by Panos Caribbean's Voices for Climate Change Education. Trees were donated by the Forestry Department. Participating in planting one of five trees - a Blue Mahoe - were From left: Artistes Ras Rebellion, Mezmorre Fari, Aaron Silk, Pam Hall; UNDP Resident Representative, Denise E Antonio, Forestry Department CEO and Conservator of Forests, Ainsley Henry; and artiste, Don Gass.

UNDP MCO in Jamaica
Call To Action

A local artistes’ network that helped push for 1.5 degrees Celsius as the absolute limit for global temperature rise in the 2015 Paris Agreement, has urgently called for more shade trees to cool down Jamaica from rising temperatures, in a resounding endorsement of Jamaica’s National Tree Planting Initiative. 

Voices for Climate Change Education, a network initiated and coordinated by Panos Caribbean, are expressing concern that eight years after the Paris Agreement, there is inadequate action from developed countries who they labelled the “biggest emitters of global-warming Greenhouse Gases”.

“Jamaica and other Caribbean countries are experiencing some of the hottest summers in recent history,” they stated in a Call to Action endorsed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Multi Country Office in Jamaica and finalized on World Environment Day.

The artistes, collectively known for producing the popular songs ‘Global Warming’ and ‘Mother Nature Cries’ joined forces at the UNDP and Panos Caribbean’s ‘1.5 To Stay Alive Knowledge Forum and Jam Session’ to hear updates on global warming and to renew their commitment as climate change education messengers. The group included Pam Hall, Anthony Cruz, Grub Cooper, Jerone Riley, Aaron Silk, Ras Rebellion, Mezmoore Fari, Oneil Scott also known as Nazzle Man, and Donn Gass. 

Arising from concerns about rising temperatures in Jamaica, and in support of the National Tree Planting Initiative, the artistes specifically called for greater use of shade-producing trees to improve canopy coverage, carbon sequestration and temperature reduction in urban spaces; greater use and retention of shade-producing hardwood trees; and greater attention to cooling down the hottest communities in Jamaica by partnering on strategic shade-producing tree planting exercises for town centres, roadways, homes, and establishments. The group also called for expansion of the number of green spaces and parks; as well as promulgation of policies and regulations to activate a robust circular economy in order to reduce plastic pollution while providing new sources of income.

The Voices for Climate Change Education artistes recommitted to music collaborations to educate the people about the risks of global warming and practical mitigation measures that can reduce climate change impacts.
UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio in recalling the power of the music message produced by the group for the Paris Agreement talks, said they must renew their advocacy because of worrying forecasts that the earth is on track to exceed the 1.5-degree limit. 

“We call on artistes to once again produce the music message the world needs to hear – that Industrialized nations must reduce carbon emissions and we on the frontlines must step up adaptation and mitigation actions to protect ourselves”, she stated.

In reiterating the artistes’ climate action mitigation calls to action, Ms. Antonio announced that UNDP will increase canopy coverage at UNDP by joining the National Tree Planting Initiative using trees donated by the Forestry Department. “We are committed to modelling the change we talk about while cooling our space and reducing our carbon footprint,” she disclosed.   

Forestry Department Chief Executive Officer and Conservator of Forests, Ainsley A Henry, acknowledged Climate Change as an undeniable reality, and rising temperatures as a significant challenge to the environment and human well-being. 

He said trees hold the power to combat Climate Change impacts by acting as nature's air conditioners. “By planting trees, preserving existing ones, maintaining their health, diversifying our urban forests, and recognizing their multifaceted benefits, we can create cooler, greener, and more sustainable communities,” Mr Henry stated. He called for individuals and communities to join hands in embracing the power of trees and working towards a cooler and healthier future for present and future generations. He called for tree-planting initiatives which prioritize the preservation of existing trees; maintenance and care of trees and the creation of urban forests to help increase biodiversity and resilience.

The 1.5 To Stay Alive Session was addressed by University of the West Indies, Mona Climate Studies Group, Professor Michael Taylor who disclosed that global temperatures had already increased 1.1 degrees Celsius and are already producing unfamiliar weather patterns. He cautioned that further temperature rise could mean unprecedented impact on climate. 

UNDP is one of several organizations which supported the establishment of the Voices for Climate Change Education project pioneered by Panos Caribbean in 2009. Climate Resilience is one of four pillars in UNDP’s current 2022 – 2026 Country Programme.