There are times in my life where I forget just how lucky I am to be where I am. I’m grateful for the moments where I am reminded of all the good things I have to celebrate. I think a lot of people in the Caribbean feel the same way.

Several of those moments for me happen on trips with my family to any of the many hiking trails, waterfalls, or beaches we have here on my island of Trinidad. Our recent visit to Mermaid Pool was a fun one. The trail was a bit different than I’d remembered, particularly the decline to get to the water. It had eroded away to a mere sliver of land that could send you toppling over the cliff and down the side with one wrong step. But the pool itself was just as amazing as I remembered. The waters were a warm and gorgeous shade of blue, and little fishes surrounded you below the surface the moment you stopped moving.

We hiked further up, against the current, after more people joined the main pool. We settled in a gorgeous open, shallow river sheltered by tall dark trees with the most stunning green canopy. It takes a lot to make my family quiet, but sitting in that water, staring up at the sky through the canopy, brought a calmness over us that we’ll never forget. In that moment, I could only think “this is what I love about this place”, and I live in that moment until I get home, and read an article or turn on the news and hear about another oil spill or pipeline leak.


Mermaid Pool, Trinidad and Tobago. Photo credit: Shianne Williams


Just like that, the moment passes and is replaced with concerns of losing that place, and more moments like that, to the dependency on fossil fuels. It’s replaced with the thought of these spaces being taken away from the people who will come after me; who may not get to experience their own moments with these waterfalls and beaches that I’ve grown to love so much.

The countries at the lowest risk of facing the adverse effects of climate change, such as those in the global north, are the ones most responsible for the damage being done to the atmosphere. Working to lessen greenhouse gas emissions, and organising against capitalism, white supremacy and ‘Big Oil’ to reduce and ultimately halt our reliance on fossil fuels is therefore important, but so is preparing our communities in the Caribbean to respond to the changes in the climate. This means empowering each other to create and engage in activities that prevent large corporations from stockpiling wealth, and instead, help those funds be circulated back through communities from which it is taken.

Addressing the climate crisis is a collective responsibility that extends beyond individuals to corporations. We depend on these companies for services we need, but they persist in using harmful and unsustainable energy sources.

Our collective efforts to advocate for climate action in the Caribbean cannot be understated, especially considering we stand to suffer the most as the earth continues to heat up. We must put pressure on governments and companies to stop engaging with the fossil fuel industry and render any business with ‘Big Oil’ unprofitable. We can do this by:

    • Advocating for laws to lessen dependency on fossil fuels and increase investments in clean, fair, renewable energy
    • Joining boycotts and campaigns organised by your local climate groups
    • Refraining from banking with banks who fund fossil fuel projects
    • Talking about these issues, making sure your community understands the dangers of global warming and the importance of climate action

These and other actions to stop the climate crisis and promote sustainability can help make sure that our Caribbean region is safe from climate disasters and protected from oil spills which destroy our ecosystems. By coming together as a community to exchange ideas, experiences, and expertise, we can also preserve knowledge about sustainable living on our islands by facilitating the exchange of wisdom among those who possess it.

The climate crisis, capitalism, and major corporations can sometimes feel like a giant unstoppable monster, but that belief is what allows the monsters to continue wreaking havoc unchecked; to win. Remember that our countries are made up of endless beauties and treasures. Remember the moments you’ve spent enjoying those treasures. Remember your life, like our islands, are an abundance of such moments. They can still be there for the future, it’ll just require a team effort.