Panos Caribbean, 31 August 2021 - Renowned Saint Lucian-American visual artist Jonathan Gladding has released another powerful painting to convey the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for action. Gladding, who lives in the village of Laborie in the South of Saint Lucia, is known for his vivid portraits and his realistic renderings of rural life and people. Since the launch of the Caribbean campaign “1.5 To Stay Alive” in 2015, Gladding has put his talent at the service of a social and environmental cause he strongly believes in. As world leaders prepare for the latest round of climate negotiations at the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland this November, Gladding’s newest painting calls attention to what is at stake for the global community.
“Jonathan Gladding's first 1.5 To Stay Alive painting (right) became the iconic poster that symbolised our fight in Paris in December 2015 to negotiate a strong, ambitious Paris Agreement,” says Dr James Fletcher of Saint Lucia, one of the key figures in the negotiation of that Agreement 6 years ago. “This recent painting,” he says, “lets us know that our situation is grim - our sea levels are continuing to rise, while on land we are burning up. However, amidst the dark clouds of forest fires and severe hurricanes, there is still a promise of blue skies, brighter days, if we take urgent action. Thank you, Jonathan, for another priceless contribution to our fight against the existential threat of climate change.”
The “1.5 To Stay Alive” campaign that was launched in July 2015 at the initiative of the regional organisation Panos Caribbean has been supported by a number of prominent Caribbean artists. “Musicians, painters, poets, all artists play a lead role in the fight for social justice,” says Yves Renard, Regional Coordinator of Panos Caribbean, “because people trust them and because they speak in a language that everyone understands.” Indeed, over the past few years, in addition to its collaboration with Jonathan Gladding, Panos Caribbean has worked with several other artists, notably poet and playwright Kendel Hippolyte who wrote the lyrics of two powerful songs, which were produced and performed with prominent Caribbean musicians, including David Rudder, Ronald Boo Hinkson, Taj Weekes, E.sy Kennega, Belo, Zara McFarlane, Banky Banx and Bushman.
1.5 is Still Alive (2019)
Lyrics Kendel Hippolyte / Music Taj Weekes
When asked about his inspiration for this new painting, Gladding said, “I was inspired by the increasing number of catastrophes already bearing down on us on all fronts. Everyone is being affected. Glacial melting and sea level rise, the severity and frequency of weather events, and the relentless droughts and wildfires going on all over the planet. The Australian bushfires and the Brazilian Amazon rainforest wildfires of 2020 were especially shocking and heart-breaking, and this year we have seen the terrible fires in California as well as Greece and other parts of Europe.”
“The girl in the painting represents earth and humanity in peril,” Gladding (pictured left) explains. “Slowly being submerged by rising sea levels, while at the same time she is surrounded by the wildfires of a burning planet. Her (our) only hope is that we do all we can to keep the increase in average global temperature to no more than 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. Reducing our use of fossil fuels and investing in clean energy, consuming less, wasting less, eating less meat, growing our own foods and buying locally when possible, adopting greener methods of commuting, and pressuring our governments to take bold action on climate change. That’s what she’s asking us to do.”
The first goal of COP 26 is straightforward: it is to “Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach.” If the global summit fails to achieve that goal, it will betray the hopes of the girl on Jonathan Gladding’s inspiring image, and the hopes and rights of all future generations, especially in the regions, countries and communities most directly affected by climate change.
In celebration of Earth Day 2020, the global science and policy institute Climate Analytics has released a video documentary that features the efforts of civil society organisations and individuals in the fight against climate change. In August 2019, in order to help keep a focus on the climate crisis and the need for urgent action at global, regional, national and community levels, Climate Analytics and the Institute for Small Islands convened a meeting to discuss the Implications of Global Warming for a Small Island State like Trinidad and Tobago. The video presents highlights from that encounter.
“We are at the frontline against climate change”, says Caroline Mair-Toby, Founder and Director of the Institute for Small Islands in introducing the video, and “as small islands, the world over, it is important that we tell our own stories”. This new documentary does precisely this, telling the story of ground-breaking climate action in Trinidad and Tobago and showing the connectedness between the various efforts.
In the video, Rueanna Haynes, Senior Legal Advisor at Climate Analytics, reminds us that “under the Paris Agreement, countries have undertaken pledges to take action against climate change … [but] the 10-year time frame before us is our last chance to be able to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”. In this documentary, civil society and other actors in Trinidad and Tobago stress that urgency, and demonstrate that everyone has a role to play in the fight against climate change.
- - -
Climate Analytics was formed in 2008 to bring cutting edge science and policy analysis to bear on one of the most pressing global problems of our time: human-induced climate change. It is motivated by the desire to empower those most vulnerable – Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries – to use the best science and analysis available in the international climate negotiations, as well as developing policies and institutional capacity to adapt to climate change. Climate Analytics undertakes extensive research on the 1.5°C temperature limit in the Paris Agreement, and the risks and vulnerabilities these countries face. It also evaluates progress on climate action and shows governments how they can act on their policies to keep global warming to this limit.
The Institute for Small Islands is an independent research and policy institute that provides a forum for discussion of issues important to small island states and communities around the world. Based in Trinidad & Tobago, it brings together thought leaders from the public sector, private sector, academia, and civil society, creating spaces for discourse, problem-solving, and action. Its goal is to study small islands across the globe from an interdisciplinary angle; to encourage comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing small islands; to facilitate the exchange of information on small islands between the academic and professional spheres and broader mainstream media; and to make issues facing small islands accessible and understandable to anyone wanting to know more.
Swain "Rebellion" Washington, a Voices for Climate Change Education artist, reminds us not to build to close to the shore! Global warming causes the sea level to rise, and more intense storms.
Special thanks to our partners the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) Jamaica, the Climate Investment Funds, the World Bank, the Forestry Department of Jamaica, and the Climate Change Division - Jamaica (CCD Jamaica).