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Tug of war
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The destruction caused by Hurricane Beryl has provoked a series of conversations on climate change and the disproportionate impacts that it has on the Caribbean region.

Statistics circulated on social media state that the Caribbean and Latin America contribute around 10% of global emissions, yet have to bear the brunt of climate change. A somewhat unified stance has been developed on this front, as West Indian people are experiencing first-hand this issue that has been long discussed, providing a clear opinion that climate justice must be at the forefront of the global agenda.

While some cohesion has developed in this discourse, Beryl has stirred up other discussions that have seemingly led to some division. The issue of the continuation of carnival events in the aftermath of the hurricane has been a particularly tricky argument.

While some agree that the economic benefit of these events must be protected, others proffer that the ethics of carrying out these events in the face of the destruction suffered is questionable. Of course, this issue is a matter of perspective and opinion and one in that practicalities and sensitivities must be weighed and prioritised accordingly.

The interest of this commentary is not to decipher which approach is more appropriate but rather to illuminate a larger issue that perpetuates circumstances such as these.

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The compartmentalisation of the discussions arising from Hurricane Beryl is arguably doing a great disservice to public understanding. The Vincentian public has unified in their request for climate justice but has yet to find a way to encourage division amongst ourselves in such a vulnerable time. It would be beneficial for us all to consider that this may be by design. In any sensible quest for climate justice, capitalism must be a central point of analysis.

It is easy to see that in times like these, the well-organised “class system” promoted by the capitalist system has effectively confused us all. It has been so effective in fact, that in the same breath that we use to criticise powerful countries for the climate crisis, we also fight amongst ourselves on how best to survive it.

While inequality of all sorts riddles our country, let us not be distracted by misdirected anger and emotional tendencies. The upper class, middle class and lower class from a non-capitalist perspective are all still a single class. Without the injection of too many political or economic technicalities, we are all (for the most part) in the same boat.

While those with privilege must be encouraged to use it wisely, especially for the aid of those who have suffered so tremendously, we should take caution in vilifying our own people. Lest we forget the tactics of divide and conquer that have so effectively pillaged our country, and instead focus on the greater systems at hand that threaten our livelihoods and the generations to come.

Divya Singh

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3 Comments

  1. nancysauldemers says:

    I beg to differ on one point. We are not “all (for the most part) in the same boat.” We may be in the same storm but some of us are in huge yachts, some are in tiny double-enders and some of us are in the water drowning. Can we judge a drowning man’s anger when he sees a yacht sail by and hears the owners standing on deck talking about care and love but fail to demonstrate any of either by stopping or at least slowing down to help him?

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  2. I don’t understand why the Vincentian public which has “unified in their request for climate justice” has yet to find a way to encourage division…”

    Why encourage division? Did the writer mean ‘discourage’ rather than “encourage”? I know that we present as unique and special in several ways but…

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