Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Richard Branson Vowed to Rebuild the Caribbean After Hurricanes Destroyed It

Renewable Energy

After surviving two Category 5 hurricanes this fall, the Caribbean resembled something of a war zone, according to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

And so what the island nations of the region need now is a post-war plan for redevelopment—a plan he's calling the "Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan," named after the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Europe after World War II.


The plan will be focused on bringing a "green energy revolution" to the region, Branson told Reuters.

The Caribbean spans 2.8 million square miles and is home to 37 million people—many of whom live in poverty. While poverty levels on islands like Jamaica, Barbuda, Dominica, and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands vary widely, the region as a whole has struggled to build strong economies, according to the Caribbean Development Bank.

The billionaire inventor and businessman, who owns a private island in the Caribbean where he rode out Hurricane Irma with his staff, is working with global leaders including the International Monetary Fund to help rebuild the islands, according to the report.

Branson is insisting that the islands rebuild their energy grid on sustainable, renewable sources rather than fossil fuels.

"Another storm could strike within the coming weeks," Branson told a meeting of leaders in Washington earlier this month. "The Caribbean must seize the opportunity and take the leap from 20th-century technology to 21st-century innovation."

The Washington meeting was hosted by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery and the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, according to the Digital Journal.

Branson is the owner of a wind energy company that already operates in the Caribbean, according to the UN-backed website Climate Action, which noted that solar and wind energy is cheaper and easier for island nations to obtain than importing fossil fuels.

At the meeting in Washington, Branson said the destruction on his own Necker Island and neighboring islands was like that of a nuclear blast, according to Digital Journal.

Now, the inventor and CEO hopes to forge an international fund for the island nations by working with government and business leaders. Branson already met with the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, and together the pair are working on debt relief options for the islands, according to the Journal.

The Marshall Plan was a $13 billion plan—or about $132 billion in modern-day money—created by the U.S> to help rebuild Western European countries, the Digital Journal reported.

"We want to move the Caribbean countries into clean energy and make them more sustainable, which will make dealing with hurricanes much easier," he said. "The Caribbean Heads of State agree with one voice that this is a good idea."

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations Global Goals, including bringing sustainable energy to countries around the world. You can take action here.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

More than 1,000 people were told to evacuate their homes when a wildfire ignited in the foothills west of Denver Monday, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Read More Show Less

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. mixetto / E+ / Getty Images

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. New research has found that 5.4 million Americans were dropped from their insurance between February and May of this year. In that three-month stretch more Americans lost their coverage than have lost coverage in any entire year, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Heat waves are most dangerous for older people and those with health problems. Global Jet / Flickr / CC by 2.0

On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 250 U.S. oil and gas companies are expected to file for bankruptcy by the end of next year. Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.

Read More Show Less
Trump introduces EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an event to announce changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Jan. 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The changes would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, voiced support for safe reopening measures. www.vperemen.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

By Kristen Fischer

It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Critics charge the legislation induces poor communities to sell off their water rights. Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.

Read More Show Less