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SOLUTION BUILDERS: PEACE IS A POWER TOOL

Updated: Dec 17, 2023



Back in 2019, fueled by anger and panic, I dove headfirst into the local general election as an independent candidate. The pressing issue of climate change had left me filled with anxiety, frustration, and disbelief. The silence surrounding the matter was deafening, and I felt overwhelmed as someone actively involved in climate action. At the same time, I was already running a community project called Fish 'N Fins, which aimed to teach kids to swim and get involved in marine science. However, our efforts were met with insurmountable challenges, leaving us drained and needing more reserves to rely on. The aftermath of

COVID-19 only worsened our situation, making it nearly impossible to continue.


After the elections and before the onset of Covid 19, I realized I was experiencing something akin to "target fixation.” And just like a cyclist who becomes fixated on a target and ends up steering towards it, I collided with the harsh realities of life on the front line of climate action. I was left burnt out and facing a severe illness that not only could've threatened my life but also impacted my family deeply. Then, I realized I had given enough in one role and needed to explore new revenue streams and avenues for contributing while holding joy and peace at the heart of everything I do. This shift in mindset marked the beginning of a healing process, slowly but surely restoring my energy and enthusiasm and providing me with opportunities to learn and acquire new skills.


It often feels like our efforts to address the crises ( climate, culture, biodiversity, finance, energy, equity, etc.) we face are insignificant and futile. We may even question our worth or intelligence for attempting to make a difference. However, being in service means not seeking validation from the world, and de-centering yourself is the healthiest and most uplifting thing you can do in sustainability. - Solitaire Townsend.


The conversation surrounding climate change is not about any one individual or group. It is about serving our community and country as a whole. It’s more than making peace with nature; it's about making peace with ourselves and others who may have wronged us to unite and better support each other.


Just as we must prioritize our health, we must prioritize the health of our oceans in every climate discussion, as our lives and livelihoods are intricately connected to the sea. Every other breath we breathe comes from the ocean.




Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and territories like Montserrat face specific threats from climate change, including the loss of marine ecosystems and biodiversity and extreme weather events that lead to food insecurity and displacement of people. Despite these challenges, Montserrat has shown resilience to her core. She can serve as a beacon of hope in the UK Overseas Territories, showcasing a successful nature-based economy and providing refuge and restoration for those most impacted by climate change.


During COP28, the concept of 'Loss and Damage' is being discussed, referring to the irreversible impacts of climate change that cannot be mitigated through adaptation and mitigation efforts alone. However, islands like Montserrat face difficulties in providing strong evidence of these adverse effects due to a decades-long lack of resources and infrastructure. Heavy losses due to volcanic activity of the 1990s compounded this. Also, as with many other SIDS and territories, our current disaster risk financing mechanisms, such as insurance, still need to adequately cover the losses we experience.


We need more soldiers on the front line of climate action. I call upon solution builders to join this mission of making ourselves useful to others and fulfilling our duty to society. By focusing on how we can help and doing what we can, we unlock new projects and funding that our economy and people desperately need.


There is ample space for us to support our leaders and each other in this work, prioritizing ocean-climate-finance literacy, inviting more individuals into the conversation, and promoting practical and creative nature-based solutions designed by our people for our people. It is vital to build this foundation if we are to leave a lasting legacy for future generations and effectively advocate for ourselves at the international level.


While I am not naive enough to believe that those in power genuinely care about our well-being and happiness, they recognize the economic benefits of adopting greener and bluer practices. We need more good people human beings who understand the urgency and complexities of these issues and are willing to roll up their sleeves and engineer solutions in a complex environment.


Many of us face imposter syndrome and the 'foreign expert reality,' but we must not be discouraged. Disrupting current systems and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs leads to innovation, and innovation leads to change. Regardless of the sector you work, study, or engage in, our climate solutions need you. Securing funding for ocean-climate solutions can engage our diaspora and encourage them to invest, return, and thrive in their homeland in peace. There is work to be done, and we need an all-hands-on-deck approach. Equitable collaborations with our international partners while ensuring native Montserratians benefit financially are crucial.


As a gift to you, if you are wondering what project might align directly or indirectly with the outcomes of COP28, here is an unedited list I compiled in 2019.


Although I will not run in the next election, my service to Montserrat will inspire urgent and progressive climate action.


In peace and solidarity,

Veta





PROJECT IDEAS BY SECTOR (2019)


EDUCATION

  • Virtual Learning

  • Schools for the Future

  • Twinning opportunities

  • STEAM Focus



ENERGY

  • Geothermal

  • Solar

  • Wave Energy

  • Montserrat as a living renewables showroom

HEALTH

  • International Standards

  • Holistic wellness clinic focused on preventative care, cultural diets, and mental resilience.

AGRICULTURE & ENVIRONMENT

  • Irrigation

  • Access to Lands

  • Resilient Crops

  • Branding

  • Eco-Park

  • Island wide beautification

FISHERIES & OCEANS

  • Participatory Research

  • Science Tourism

  • Youth Leadership Opportunities

  • Reef Monitoring

  • Coral Gardening

  • Re-Branding

  • Marine Park

  • Greener Boats

  • Exploring export markets

HOUSING

  • Planning around nature

  • Incentives for eco-housing development catered to diaspora

  • International standard for design and culinary services

PORT/MARINA

  • Climate-smart

  • Waste Management

  • A yacht marina.

  • Renewable energy plugins

COMMUNITY SERVICE

  • Collab with NGOs via subsidies use of community centers

CIVIL SERVICE

  • Wellness & Reward

  • Virtual performance development ops

  • Twinning

CULTURE & HERITAGE

  • Vote to Diaspora

  • Archive / Documentary

  • Valuing of Traditional Knowledge

  • Virtual Curriculum



Veta Wade

Ocean-Climate solutionist. Founder of Fish ‘N Fins Inc. and Montserrat Marine Megafauna Project. Read The Framework for Equitable Collaboration Blue Economy Framework. You can contact me at veta@vetawade.com. Subject: BlueZone.


Thank you for reading and supporting this effort. If you have a year-end budget, consider hiring me to speak to your organization or make a tangible contribution here.




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