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Citizens need to be stewards of environment, says Pickersgill

Saturday, October 19, 2013 | 3:18 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Robert Pickersgill, said on Thursday that Jamaica’s ability to withstand the effects of future natural disasters depends greatly on increased efforts nationwide to preserve the environment.

Pickersgill, while speaking at the Forestry Department’s award presentation at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston stressed the need for citizens to become dedicated “stewards” of environmental preservation by, among other things, planting more trees.

He noted that forest preservation is necessary to safeguard Jamaica against the impact of weather-related activities such as hurricanes, the overall effects of climate change and land slippages, among other occurrences.

“The loss of forest cover, not just here in Jamaica, but worldwide, presents a ‘clear and present danger’ to our survival,” he said. “Our forests are (also) directly related to our livelihoods as they provide medicines, wood, water, and almost every natural (provision) around us.”

In this regard, Pickersgill urged that the nation act with urgency to implement measures that will preserve the island’s forests, adding that “one of the best ways is to plant more trees”.

The Minister pointed to scientific predictions warning of the possible ‘climate departure’ being experienced by several cities globally, including Kingston, by 2023.

Climate departure is a scientific term referring to significant changes in average temperature levels, either in a specific location or globally, consequent on the severity of climate change-related occurrences.

Meanwhile presentations were made to retired quantity surveyor, Dalkeith Hanna, who received the Private Forestry Award, and journalist Petre Williams Raynor, who was recognised in the Media and Communication category.

The Community Forestry Award was presented to the Dolphin Head Local Forest Management Committee in Hanover, while the Lion’s Club of Mona, St Andrew, walked away with the Non-profit Organisation Award.  

The Forest Heroes Awards were organised by the Forest Department as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations this year, being held under the theme: ‘Protecting our forests, Sustaining Lives…70 years and Beyond’.

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