Ja Blog Day

A day of action for Jamaican bloggers.
Recent Tweets @JaBlogDay

INTERNATIONAL REGGAE DAY (IRD) is a 24 hour global media festival celebrating the Best of Jamaica’s creativity and its impact on culture worldwide. IRD is the first ever calendar event to be officially proclaimed and dedicated to REGGAE music and Jamaica’s creative industries. An internationally recognized annual event, IRD mobilizes the combined power of music, media and technology to create a global REGGAE party on JulyOne.

Why do we need an International Reggae Day? Reggae is the soundtrack for JAMAICA and Reggae is the music the world hears when they think of JAMAICA in any area of achievement. Reggae is the world’s first true global beat with the first true global superstar in Bob Marley and Reggae deserves this recognition.

Find out more here: http://www.ireggaeday.com

Just before Jamaica (Ja) Blog Day on May 23, the folks over at the International Reggae Day (IRD) invited us up partner with them for a special 2014 edition “Ja Blog Day: International Reggae Day.” We agreed of course! This year IRD has a number of activities planned for its annual one day global Reggae Festival on JulyOne.  Among those activities is inviting bloggers to post about Reggae and its potential and influence.  Specifically, is this potential and influence truly appreciated by Jamaicans?  Reggae is perhaps Jamaica’s best known and most influential “export.”  It has influenced social movements and numerous non-Jamaican artists, been the soundtrack for many a protest, and attracted folks to Jamaica physically and spiritually.  Its progeny, Dancehall, has also gained world renown as an energetic if sometimes controversial genre.  For both, the question persists and is often the subject of hot debate: Do Jamaicans understand and appreciate the influence of these decidedly Jamaican musical forms?

We have all seen the debate when a “big name” artist gets a buss off Reggae: “Dem t’ief wi t’ing!” or “Why none ah we cyaan mek it suh big?”  We have wrung our hands at the commentary – though we may not have accepted the fact – that France is considered a major Reggae capital, if not the Reggae capital of the world.  During the recent Schools’ Challenge Quiz, watchers were aghast that contestants from both schools did not recognize a picture of Peter Tosh.  There are frequent…skirmishes…between Reggae and Dancehall show promoters and the Jamaican authorities about late night events and street dances.  If it is that Jamaicans and Jamaican leadership don’t “get it” about Reggae (and Dancehall), why is that? Are we afraid to embrace it? And, then, how do we change whatever it is that is not quite right so that Jamaicans are the main producers, influencers, and consumers of Reggae and Dancehall? How do we reclaim what we created but still share it with the world (because make no mistake, Reggae and Dancehall are meant to be shared)? 

On July 1, 2014, we invite Jamaican bloggers to lively up demself for IRD 2014.  Post about Reggae, its influence, and its potential.  Speak and write about Jamaicans’ and Jamaica’s lack of appreciation for the genre and offer ways for us to navigate the scene so that we can catch up.  Or take a historical approach: What are some of the institutions, like the Alpha Boys’ School, that have molded Reggae music into the well-respected genre it is?  How do they do it and how can they be supported?  Share your experiences with Reggae: everything from the increasingly popular Dub Club on a Sunday night in the hills above Kingston to your favourite Reggae sub-genre or book, or a memorable Reggae experience. 

Be sure to use the hashtags #ThisIsMyReggae and #JaBlogDayIRD2014 when you publish you post so that we can curate all of your contributions on the Ja Blog Day blog.

We also encourage you to get out and immerse yourself in the other activities planned for IRD 2014, including a free yoga dub session at Emancipation Park, Kingston, Jamaica while Reggae posters are projected onto the nearby Jamaica Pegasus hotel. Or – and this is actually consistent with the theme of Ja Blog Day on May 23, 2014 – get out and Plant for the Planet.  Reinforcing the concept of you reap what you sow, IRD2014 has partnered with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) to encourage Reggae lovers across the world to wear their Reggae colours (red, green, and gold) on JulyOne while planting a tree.  This activity could also be the focal point of your blog for your special edition Ja Blog Day post; simply post about your Plant for the Planet experience and why you chose to participate as part of IRD2014.  Be sure to also use the hashtag #MyReggaeTree to help IRD2014 curate all the tree planting activities across the world. 

There is an active movement toward large casino hotels that can come on board within four months with more than 2000 jobs in the initial construction phase and more than 2000 we’ll paying jobs plus a lot of other opportunities across the entir spectrum read agriculture,education and training, environmental preservation , tour operations the economy would jump so fast we may have to import labour and managers and engineers. Read Kingsley Thomas on harmony cove and let’s not be trapped in the logistics hub project. There is a much better way to go. Who says we can’t have our cake and eat it.

#JaBlogDay @atechno tweets his thoughts on #ENvVDev:

Architect @Every Labour Day I’m reminded of how small and timid our thinking, as a nation is when it comes to “development.”

We forget that development should always aim to have a big & dare I say positive effect on all walks of society.

And every act of development should be a step closer to our sustainability as a country.

Never forgetting that “every mikkle mek a muckle.”

Our acts of development need to be more efficient & should aim to do more than any one thing.

Example a housing estate can also be an energy plant if the roofs are fitted with a solar array that feeds the grid.

Our highways could also be forestry reserve with a nursery of vegetation planted on the verges.

Our schools could become our farms.

And the thoughts may sound crazy but sustainable development cannot like the examples we have been doing in the past.

How good [it] would be that our gullies are not filled with rubbish but with high speed trains instead.

#JaBlogDay #EnvVDev post from @Riccaado argues that the extraordinary economic challenges Jamaica faces call for extraordinary action to meet them, and that emotionally charged arguments from environmentalists (the tried and true and “newbies”) are impractical and, perhaps, intellectually dishonest.

As another blogger said (@Kellykathrin) I really do think I live in the most beautiful place on earth. Granted, I haven’t seen enough of the world to truly make that claim. I am biased beyond belief because I love my island home. There are issues aplenty but notwithstanding I enjoy living and working in Jamaica.

The theme of this truly inspired initiative is ‘Environment vs Development’. In my mind both must be protected and fostered if we are truly going to be able to live in a country that lives up to its promise and stewards its gifts effectively. Environmentalists are bound to be frustrated by the secrecy and the ‘full-speed-ahead‘ approach of the Government to the Logistics Park being proposed by CHEC.

I believe, based on no inside knowledge and little more than gut, that this project is going ahead despite the outcry. And while I add my name to the Steven Smith petition asking us to ‘Save Goat Island’, I know the future of our whole island is in jeopardy without serious progress, diversification of revenue streams and re-orientation towards producing rather than consuming.
Will the project affect the biodiversity and change the face of Goat Island? Undoubtedly. Here’s however what I think the next steps are:

• Put pressure on the Government to demand a percentage of funding that will either be used to ameliorate damage and/or be able to (re)create other protected areas. Similar to what the Universal Access Fund does. Environmental groups, interested public representatives and those in the Government that are responsible for environmental protection should come up with plans to use the funds in way that is transparent, sustainable (in all senses of the word) and inclusive.

• Begin to use the increased awareness of Goat Island and the pertinent issues surrounding protected areas to begin to influence Government policy and to ensure they do the right thing. Truthfully I don’t know how many protected areas there are, where they are and I bet you that I am not alone. Within those mass emails there are the beginnings of a powerful force that can start commenting on a number of other issues and begin to raise the profile of environmentalists in action.

• Let’s do something! Are there other things that we can do to help save the environment. You have a good database and now a topical issue. Let’s use it to organize teams to clean up beaches, rebound with recycling and start projects to replenish some of our endangered species. And should we ask CHEC, and other corporate entities that challenge the beauty and sustainability of the island, to chip in to help pay for it and indeed to throw their human resources and equipment at the problem.

• And someone should start putting together a proposal for CHEC that proposes themself as a Chief Environment Officer that looks at ways to ensure that this public relations nightmare could be handled better and plans sustainability within their future projects. Like our Prime Minister I am all about the “jobs, jobs, jobs”.

Now I am not saying those opposing the use of Goat Island should give up the fight but saying there should also be another approach that looks at what should be done in the very likely event that it does happen. I am no environmentalist but I do enjoy the benefits and the privilege of being here and so I am interested in sustaining and even bettering Jamaica because mi nah lef yah!

Some say the road to progress is lined with good intentions. But the subtext implicates the potholes along the way that sometimes cause us to stumble adrift of the greater goal. Jamaica, in its pursuit of “Vision 2030: to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business” is hard pressed to chart a path towards development. 

Development may change it’s definition depending on who you ask. The urban planner, the housing contractor, the government official- might have overlapping views in the Venn Diagram of national achievement; but where visions don’t overlap— and there are many such spaces—is a chasm of wills nowhere greater evidenced than in the battle between the economy and the environment. 

We falsely perceive an angry environmental lobby that is anti-development, anti-jobs and therefore anti-growth on the one hand. While on the other we discern a molasses-paced government fraught with the challenge of moving a national economy towards measureable growth that has tangible impact in people’s lives. We project a rubric that says “Environment OR Development”. But the gloves-are-off combative approach to the national conversation on how to reconcile  environmental and economic goals is a dangerous one that does not engage the plethora of ways that an environmental agenda is essential to the economic agenda and vice versa. 

It would benefit both dialogue and policy to go beyond, for example, the ways in which the Logistics Hub proposed for Goat Islands is inherently dangerous for ecological life towards exploration of a ‘green’ logistics hub. Green jobs are emerging daily-in alternative energy supply, in mastering new and green technologies and in skill based tourism such as sports, cultural and eco-attractions. How the current activity of overfishing in the Portland Bight Protected Area is impacting the ecological integrity of zone is as important as the plans for its future use. 

Let’s agree that if ‘development’ is to take place in space, it will have impact on its environment. Therefore, considerations for the use of that space cannot happen exclusive of footprint it will leave in its wake. 

We are challenged to bring to the table real, everyday ways of grasping the gravity of climate change in the context of a Small Island Developing State (SIDS). How we use our water resources, fishing, our brand of tourism and our energy use must take into account a way of life that perceives a Jamaica for the future. Our housing, economic and energy policies ought to reflect a system that gives plaudits to conservation and care for the environment as a way of life. We must further challenge our partners in development to refocus their lenses towards a green economy. 

The way we get there—towards a national development ethos that marries the environment with economic development is no yellow brick road. But instead, it is one where we value the Holland Bamboos and the Fern Gullies as ecological treasures as much as they are pathways to sun sea and sand. It is one where that very same sun illuminates our national energy policies. It’s in the way we appreciate our natural and physical resources as much as our eyes are fixed towards the future that we truly realize there’s no place like home.

Just in time for your blog posts tomorrow, another official Jamaica Blog Day graphic!

Dennis Jones (@dennisgjones): http://jamaicapoliticaleconomy.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/jamaica-blog-day-environment-vs-development-baha-mar-meet-jamaicas-logistics-hub/

Petchary (@petchary): http://petchary.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/environment-vs-development-having-your-cake-and-eating-it-too-for-jamaica-blog-day/

Kelly (@KellyKatharin): http://kellykatharin.blogspot.com/2014/05/negrils-7-mile-beach-here-today-gone.html

Marlene @BigFren): http://jablogday.tumblr.com/post/86591852599/jablogday-envvdev-offering-from-bigfren

T.H.I.N.K. Jamaica/Durie @MizDurie): http://www.thinkja.com/environment-v-development-take-a-breath-if-you-can-jablogday-envvdev/

Claudia (@cyopro): http://cyopro.blogspot.ca/2014/05/inside-mind-of-island.html

Helen Williams (@BillyElm): http://marogkingdom.blogspot.com/2014/05/environment-v-development.html

ZA[neta] (@zanii_zan): http://jablogday.tumblr.com/post/86632521634/in-search-of-greener-grass-a-call-for-environment-al

Anonymous: http://jablogday.tumblr.com/post/86632805094/lets-have-no-losers-in-environment-vs-development

CucumberJuice/Alice Clare (@cucumberjuice): http://cucumberjuice.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/environment-v-developmentand-the-loss-of-our-dignity/

rB (@riccaadoe): http://constructedthoughts.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/environment-vs-development-choose-investments-over-frogs-bird-fish/

d’Architect (@atechno): http://jablogday.tumblr.com/post/86813055344/thinking-acting-big-on-development-in-jamaica

This list will be updated as posts are submitted and curated on this blog.