Climate Change may be the number one national security threat to low-lying Belize. Data shows that over the past 40 years there has been a warming of between 1.6 to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit along the coast and interior of Belize. Experts say this is extremely alarming, considering the fact that the globe warmed by only 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over this period of time. Meaning, Belize is warming faster than the globe. What is even more concerning is that Belize is not really a huge ozone polluter. Therefore, this country that has very little impact on the degradation of the global environment is feeling the effects at an above average level. It is disheartening for even the most optimistic environmentalists but the work must continue. Belize continues to do its part to promote environmentally friendly initiatives and build climate change resiliency. The most recent initiative is a partnership with the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) aimed at encouraging environmentally friendly innovation.
Belize Training and Employment Center issued the call to all Belizeans with clean technology ideas to participate in CCIC’s Caribbean Green Tech Boot Camp. Numerous innovators answered the call and attended Green Tech Belize at the ITVET Belize City Campus from Friday, November 11, to Sunday, November 13. Caribbean GreenTech Startup Weekend is an intense 54 hour weekend event. Innovators bring their ideas to the workshop and they are introduced to mentors who are experts in the field. Over the weekend, these innovators work with their mentors to develop their projects before they are pitched to a panel at the end of the camp. Carlington Burrell, Project Manager of CCIC, said, “We are focusing on energy sufficiency, sustainable agriculture and agri-business, renewable energy, resource use efficiency, water and waste water management.”
Six teams presented well developed ideas on Sunday. Those teams are Urban Farmers, The Green Machine, Green Earth Builders, Tidal Energy Kits, Belize Recycling Solutions and FantaSea Fish – Belize. After the judges carefully scrutinized the pitches, the Earth Builders were declared the winners. Their clean technology based construction company was deemed the most climate friendly, job creating and doable idea. This group received a US$1,000 cash prize. Green Machine received US$500 for second and Belize Recycling Solutions received US$250 for third prize. Hon. Tracy Taegar-Panton, Minister of Economic Development, says, “all CARICOM countries are directly benefitting from this Green Tech Start Up boot camp Island tech series.” Mike Singh, C.E.O. in the Ministry, joined Burrell to hand out awards and certificates at the conclusion of the camp on Sunday.