As the global conversation surrounding climate change takes the spotlight, many are researching more environmentally conscious vacation options; especially when it comes to visiting exotic locations in the Caribbean. Luckily, several small island developing states (SIDS) have promised to move towards greener economies, including banning single-use plastics and styrofoam and investing in renewable energy. Most recently at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), SIDS leaders spoke freely about the challenges their islands face, but added that they have also created systems to reduce plastic pollution and encourage sustainable living. According to a statement by the UN Environment, “This is a forward step in ensuring a future in which we have achieved the Sustainable Development Goals related to Climate Action and preserving land on life and in the water.”
Ideal for the mindful traveller who’s on the lookout for more than pretty beaches and crystal clear waters, here are three islands that are on the forefront of creating a more sustainable visitor experience:
Back in 2018 when Prime Minister Mia Mottley took office, the new government vowed to go plastic free by 2020. Come January 1, 2020, “There will be a ban on petrol-based plastic bags, except those used for the packaging of pharmaceuticals, hygiene products, and food preservation.” This means visitors to Barbados may rest easier knowing their beach vacation isn’t just a getaway, rather, increased visitors to the island boosts local business and invites greater investment opportunities in the future. As noted during the High-Level Midterm Review of the SAMOA Pathway in September, PM Mottley reminded those in attendance, “What concerns me is that the opportunity and possibilities of the new economy are at our doorstep, yet we fail to grasp them.” Regular visitors of the island know Barbados has always been a favourite of the discerning traveller looking for that idyllic Caribbean getaway; but never-have-been-befores can look forward to a more conscious experience as well.
After Hurricane Maria flattened much of the island of Dominica to rubble, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced that the island, monikered “The Nature Isle”, will be plastic free from January 1, 2019. Known for her lustrous beauty and an inherent sense of adventure, Dominica has managed to rise up in the most inspiring of ways after the storm’s devastation. Tourists visiting the island can look forward to not just a more sustainable society, but one where its indigenous history is cherished boldly. Known as the Kalinago, there are a few thousands of who inhabit an area known as the Kalinago Territory and remnants of their culture is evident in the architecture and customs. Birders, whale watchers, hikers and foodies will also have plenty to do as the island is also known for its various of flora and fauna.
No one can visit Jamaica without sampling jerk chicken from Scotchie’s and copious amounts of Blue Mountain coffee; but this island is more than food, drink and irie vibes. Also banning plastics and styrofoam this year, the PM of Jamaica Andrew Holness added even more great news at the inauguration of the island’s first and largest solar farm on October 2; the Paradise Park Solar Farm in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, “Jamaica’s energy resource potential through the development of renewable energy sources and enhances its international competitiveness in energy security, whilst reducing its carbon footprint.” The Paradise Park is projected to significantly decrease the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, while helping the island to reach its sustainable development targets (Jamaica Information Service). As one of the leading Caribbean islands charging the lead towards a more sustainable future, Jamaica has become not just one of the most popular vacation destinations, but is now primed to become of the most eco-friendly countries to live, invest and visit.
The Caribbean region is a great escape for many, but soon, it will become a sustainable haven for citizens, tourists, investors and developers who are only too keen on creating a greener world for us to thrive in.