Kendel Hippolyte





“The arts can make us act”, said award-winning Saint Lucian poet Kendel Hippolyte on Thursday evening at the launch of a Caribbean campaign on Climate Justice, “and we need action in response to the threats, the realities of climate change”. The purpose of the campaign, dubbed #1point5tostayalive, seeks to raise awareness, momentum and popular support – a broad movement in favour of the Caribbean’s negotiating positions in the lead-up to the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris in December 2015.


“The message is 1.5 to stay alive”, said Saint Lucia’s Minister of Sustainable Development Dr. James Fletcher, because the Caribbean needs a legally binding global agreement that keeps temperature increases below 1.5o C above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100. The Caribbean also wants this agreement to provide adequate, predictable and accessible climate financing to support adaptation, mitigation and other climate change-related needs in poor and vulnerable countries, including small island states.


Elevated temperatures, sea level rise, changing rainfall patterns, more intense droughts, storms, ocean acidification – all these pose grave risks to coastal lands, water supply, agriculture, biodiversity, fisheries and other sectors and assets. But it goes beyond this. Climate change threatens the very existence of some Caribbean islands. “These are pretty serious issues”, said Hippolyte, “we need to tell the world what we feel and what we want”.


The Saint Lucian poet, who has a long history of engagement in social and environmental justice, on Thursday called on “musicians, painters, dancers, writers, all artists to become involved in this campaign by using their arts, their shows, their websites, their Facebook accounts and their concerts”, in the coming weeks, to join the call of Panos Caribbean and its partners for Climate Justice for the Caribbean. In particular, he called for participation in a week-end of action on 27, 28 & 29 November, just before the start of the Paris Conference.

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