Thursday, April 25, 2024

Make environment more important


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WORLD ENVIRONMENT Day 2010 was heralded by the tragic events   of the BP oil spillage   in the Gulf of Mexico threatening the destruction of livelihoods, marine life all over the Gulf and the potential   for greater damage   in a wider arena. If anything, this disaster has highlighted the delicate balance that exists between our   need for energy reaped from our benefactor Mother Earth and   our responsibility   to protect her for   future generations.As the native American Indian quote states: “Treat the Earth well,   it was not given to you   by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow   it from our children.”With environment month firmly under way, many activities   are being held   to encourage involvement in the beauty of Barbados. From the recently successful staging   of the Consett Bay sustainable fishing educational exposition   in St John, to coastal/gully hikes, to seminars   on various aspects of environmental protection. All these events have one purpose. To highlight that Barbados, like elsewhere in the world,   is under threat; be it man-made through indiscriminate land development, pollution, global warming or natural disasters. The land, coastlines and reefs   face a greater risk   from the human race   than ever before, and perhaps this is the turning point we must take to stop the   damage before reversal   is not possible.Of course, protection   of the environment   is not the responsibility   of one person, but must   be a collective effort   on a daily basis. This was echoed by Lionel Weekes, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage: “Every single citizen makes a footprint, therefore everyone   has a responsibility   to have a harmonious relationship with the environment to protect   it for today and for future generations. The ministry would like all citizens   of Barbados and   visitors alike to be environmentalists in   that sense.”This underscores   the fact that though Government and   business have a duty   to preserve and protect the environment   through creation   of laws, policies and practices, the ordinary citizen also has a significant role to play.   For years activities such as illegal dumping in gullies and vacant lots have occurred because “that’s what we always do”. This must stop, because as knowledge increases we know   the effect on the environment and   the law prohibiting   this and other   activities must be rigourously enforced. The Merrymen sang   of Beautiful Barbados, and this is certainly true. There are many activities in Barbados that are based on and involve   the environment   for both citizens   and visitors to enjoy.   The growth   of eco-tourism related projects is particularly encouraging as it shows concern for and care   of the environment   is growing.   Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, said: “Barbados punches above its weight in several areas.” So it must   do so with regard   to the environment,   from all levels of society. By adopting the mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” Barbados must   put the environment   at the forefront   of its attention   on a daily basis.

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