The Virgin Islands Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment of the Tourism Sector to Climate Change
JOIN THE CLIMATE FIGHT
Want to take action on climate change? We want to help! This Action Centre has been designed to provide you simple ideas for helping curb climate change and prepare for the anticipated impacts. There is something for all ages, people, groups, and budgets.
Many of the action ideas will save you money or cost you little and all are “no regrets” practices. Please follow the links for more information where available or contact the Conservation and Fisheries Department at telephone (284) 494-3429 for further guidance.
Save Energy, Save Money
Activate "sleep" feature on computers and office equipment that power down when not in use for a while. Turn off equipment during longer periods of non-use to cut energy costs and improve longevity.
Use fans whenever possible instead of air conditioning (A/C).
Replace old inefficient appliances (washers, dryers, fridges, kitchen appliances, etc.) with new energy star appliances.
Switch out your ordinary light bulbs for energy saving compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. They cost more upfront but save you more in the long run - they use 75% less energy, last 10 times longer, and pay for themselves in 6 months.
Drive less and walk, bike, and carpool with neighbours more.
Improve your gas mileage. Start by keeping your tires properly inflated and reducing the load in your trunk.
About 15% of an average home energy bill goes to heating water.
Building? Ask your architect or educate yourself about green building designs for the
tropics that maximize natural lighting and cooling and minimize your energy bill!
The following links have more great tips and step-by-step guides to saving energy at home, school, and work.
Protect Yourself, your Property, and our Environment
- Eliminate pools of standing water where mosquitoes can breed and install mosquito screens. Climate change will very likely increase the prevalence of dengue fever.
- Improve your general health and wellness. Climate change may increase the prevalence of water, food and rodent borne illnesses as well as epidemics and pandemics– the healthier you are the more resilient you are.
- Practice water conservation. As the Virgin Islands (UK) becomes drier (a projected 25% drier by the 2080s) we will have to use water more wisely. Fix leaking pipes and faucets and install water saving devices. |
- Plant your own! Start your very own fruit, vegetable, and ground provision garden in your backyard to reduce your dependence on store bought foods, save money, and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Contact the Agriculture Department at (284) 495-2110 for some local tips and tricks.
- Build wisely. Use materials and designs to withstand stronger hurricanes and more frequent flood events. Climate change is increasing the likelihood of category 4 and 5 hurricanes. The Department of Disaster Management has an excellent DVD series on building wisely in the Virgin Islands (UK).
- Build in safe places - sufficiently inland from the vegetation line of beaches and low-lying shorelines to avoid damage from storm surges and sea level rise and to minimize beach erosion. Also avoid building in flood prone areas, and sufficiently elevate buildings’ foundations.
- Improve the drainage around your property to reduce flood potential during heavy rains. Grade your land so that water flows away from your property and does not pool behind your foundation or retaining wall. Reduce the amount of rainwater flowing to your home's septic tank to lessen the risk of sewer backup. Be sure your drainage improvements do not cause drainage problems for your neighbour!
- Minimize land clearing during construction and landscape your property. Greater vegetation cover reduces erosion and the chances of flooding.
- Purchase adequate property insurance against natural disasters. Climate change will likely increase the severity of hurricane events and may increase the frequency of flooding.
- Protect our coral reefs and mangroves and give them the best chance to adapt to climate change. Pave your drive way to reduce erosion, don’t litter, maintain your septic tank, don’t cut down mangroves, use moorings when you anchor or anchor away from reefs, and practice coral-friendly diving.
- Sea turtles are vulnerable to sea level rise. Volunteer to be a turtle monitor during the annual leatherback turtle-nesting season mid March – July. Contact the Conservation and Fisheries Department at (284) 494-3429 to inquire.
- Volunteer to participate in the local branch of the annual Reef Check programme to help monitor our coral reefs.
- Join the Billion-Tree Campaign - grab a neighbour or friend and plant a tree! Trees absorb and store carbon thus helping to combat climate change and help beautify your community. Visit your nearest nursery or the J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens to get started.
- Spread the word about climate change so others can be informed and prepare. Start by entering the Climate Change Logo Competitionending September 30, 2009.
Climate Change Green Paper: A Snapshot
Climate change affects us all and takes an informed citizenry to react. The Virgin Islands Climate Change Green Paper and this “Snapshot” version have been produced to help the general public, stakeholders in affected sectors and policy makers learn more about the emerging issue of climate change, its projected impacts locally, our vulnerabilities, adaptation options and our capacity to respond.
It is hoped that the Green Paper will generate informal discussion about climate change and ultimately put the public and policy makers in a strong position to meaningfully contribute to the development of a Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Strategy through participation in an ongoing public consultation process.