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
Richard Branson Vowed to Rebuild the Caribbean After Hurricanes Destroyed It

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.

A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Long-finned pilot whales are seen during a 1998 stranding in Marion Bay in Tasmania, Australia. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A protest in solidarity with the Wetʼsuwetʼen's anti-pipeline struggle, at Canada House in Trafalgar Square on March 1, 2020 in London, England. More than 200 environmental groups had their Facebook accounts suspended days before an online solidarity protest. Ollie Millington / Getty Images

Facebook suspended more than 200 accounts belonging to environmental and Indigenous groups Saturday, casting doubt on the company's stated commitments to addressing the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
The Västra Hamnen neighborhood in Malmö, Sweden, runs on renewable energy. Tomas Ottosson / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Harry Kretchmer

By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.

Read More Show Less
An Extinction Rebellion protester outside the Bank of England on Oct. 14, 2019 in London, England. John Keeble / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch