With Earth Day around the corner it’s a reminder to all of us about what we can do help ensure the environmental health of our island for generations to come. Puerto Rico’s beautiful, tropical environment is our home. From our mountains to our beaches to our coastal lowlands, we are blessed with a wealth of environmental treasures and a heritage we must preserve.
There are plenty of articles out there about what each of us can do to be better environmental citizens whether it’s recycling, reducing our carbon footprint and conservation initiatives, but with the island at the top of the list for countries most affected by extreme weather conditions in the past two decades, it’s a good time to think about what each of us can do to be better environmental stewards.
We all know hurricanes are becoming stronger and more frequent, and sea-level is rising, causing stronger swells, an increase in coastal erosion, and contamination of coastal aquifers. As we have reported in NotiCel, critical infrastructure in Puerto Rico is vulnerable to this rise in sea-level, and the rising temperatures could negatively affect agriculture productivity.
It’s important to be aware of the direct impact changes in climate have on Puerto Rico. With improved awareness and increased overall knowledge on climate risk, we can better advocate for change and effectively influence decision makers. There are a number of public policy initiatives being considered by the PR Legislature that could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce solid waste sent to landfills, reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels and incentivize more hybrid vehicles or those that do not consume fossil fuels.
Public officials should seek the impact of all stakeholders to help protect our island’s environment, which is why I believe we, as residents of Puerto Rico, should stay informed and engage with our lawmakers. It’s imperative that we stay up-to-date on topics that directly affect our island and do our part to make a difference.
The decisions we make today will make a difference for years to come. It will require a delicate balancing act by our elected officials between achieving these goals while addressing Puerto Rico's economic challenges. What will you do this coming Earth Day to make a difference for our island? List your ideas in the comments below.
*Mark E. Curry is a leading entrepreneur, philanthropist and impact investor. Curry founded SOL Partners in Puerto Rico in 2012, and in January 2017 completed acquisition of NotiCel. As Chair of the Mark E. Curry Family Foundation, he invests in critical community charitable organizations.
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