The buzz word of worldwide news seems to be related to the global conference of the United Nations COP26, currently being held in Glasgow, Scotland. It has been an extended and broad meeting, as the consequences of climate change have become acceptable for public attention on a world stage. Beyond political obfuscation of the past decades, scientific reasoning and facts seem to be becoming more understood worldwide.
For many, their understanding of complex scientific findings have been simplified and communicated in the language of the non-scientific majority. For low-lying island and coastal communities, the flooding of their homes is a question of “seeing is believing”. It is like Third World Band playing “96 degrees in the shade; entertainment for you martyrdom for me”.
The destruction of mangroves; dead and dying coral reefs; garbage choking the rivers and oceans; human faeces; ships discharging sewage in ports and on the high seas; and other man-made toxic chemicals are a common feature in the killing of Planet Earth. Yet we fail to accept that money cannot save us from death that results from our carelessness and greed.
Many Hollywood movies have been produced dealing with the destruction of mankind. 2012; Virus; Armageddon; and others running the gamut of climate change; nuclear war; meteor impact; volcanic eruption; extreme climate change; and other apocalyptic events. The others include aliens who need our water and minerals; blood and genetics; or simply desire conquest as they flee from their own dead planets.
But the impacts on our planet of human actions that are defined by neglect and greed have been far surpassed by the activity of seeking power through politics and control of people by governments and large corporations. The latter will define the success or failure of the environment in the pursuit of “filthy lucre” (aka dutty money).
So as we seek to predict the future outcomes of COP26 we must be fully aware of promises made and promises broken in appeasing the rich and careless. In particular I will try to look at the power influence on small developing states in the Caribbean as they interact with global corporations. In general we have been manipulated by Britain; Spain; France; Portugal; The Netherlands; and the USA.
In many cases we were seen as a source of agricultural inputs at the unprocessed stage as raw materials to feed the factories of the Developed Countries. Raw sugar; bananas; citrus; pimento; coffee; nutmeg; timber; formed the basis of interest in Caribbean suppliers. Overseas policy towards the region was deeply influenced by large corporations who used money and threats to control their governments. They were the influential “King makers” often offered Charters by European governments allowing the growth in opium and other drugs.
Industrialization and war expanded the agricultural focus to inorganic raw materials. This focused attention on oil exploration; bauxite; silica; diamonds; and all were associated with cheap labour and inadequate real investment. The low royalty regime forced the poor into squatting; inadequate investment; zero tax incentives; and a gradual sellout of lands; leaving the poor poorer; and introducing corruption across the entire spectrum.