Advocate for the Environment Joe Issa Salutes Bio Diversity Day
On Sunday May 22 people throughout the world mark Biodiversity Day, and Jamaican environmental advocate Joe Issa, is no exception, as he salutes the day and calls for reflection and sustained commitment by both those who use the earth’s resources and replenish them and those who don’t.
“By replenishing the resources that we use from the earth, we are guaranteeing their sustainability and availability for generations to come, and the more this is stressed locally and internationally, the more informed people become and the greater the commitment to do what is right for earth’s sake and ours,” says Issa in an interview.
He said it is great that today we are finding time in Jamaica to celebrate our rich and important biodiversity, which has enabled sustained life for area communities for generations, including agriculture, fishing, tourism and mining, all of which are said to have been possible only because of the country’s varieties of flora and fauna as well as its terrain.
Issa, who has widely commented on issues of the environment in the local and international media and followed in particular, the journey of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (BJCMNP) from application to inscription in 2015 on the World Heritage List, stated in a 2014 article in US news distributor PRWeb, that the iconic site “is a formidable Jamaican heritage, harboring the country’s rich and diverse flora and fauna and its major watersheds.”
And when the site finally made it to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2015, he was once again reported hailing the success, saying “it’s great news for Jamaica’s tourism product and the Maroons who have live there for hundreds of years…Monetization and protection of the site should begin in earnest.”
Just recently, that call to begin the process of monetizing and protecting the site was answered with news that the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport along with a group of private sector companies, was to hold the first in a series of 24 business opportunity workshops for residents of 30 communities in Portland, just one of four parishes covered by the 78,000-hectare park including St Thomas, St Andrew, and South-East St Mary.
The BJCMNP is said to contain the largest area of primary natural forest remaining in Jamaica and is high in biodiversity, with about 40 per cent of the plants and animals found there are either endemic to Jamaica, or are found only in the park’s ecosystems.