We thought it could not get any worse under Dr Denis Lowe as Minister Of Environment who I must confess represented Barbados well on environmental issues internationally.
Perhaps, the fact I seldom remember the name of the current Minister of Environment is indicative of his lack of visibility other than the local Clean & Green initiative. I am concerned that in 2021 we still have not done anything to protect pollinators, ban RoundUp or Gramoxone nor ratified the Rio Principle 10 Declaration.
It’s hoped we will not loose our place within international fora. Let me say I further hope Minister Forde is big enough not to be like Denis Lowe and take my environmental concerns personal. Please find information on diseases linked to pesticides usage.
French President Emmanuel Macron is calling on G7 countries to discuss what he described as an emergency in the Amazon rainforest.
In a tweet, Macron said the issue should top the list of topics on the agenda of a summit scheduled to start this weekend.Brazil’s policy toward the Amazon has been under scrutiny over the past few days as data from the country’s National Institute of Space Research show an 84% year-on-year increase in forest fires in 2019.
Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days! #ActForTheAmazonpic.twitter.com/dogOJj9big
I was fortunate enough to be invited as a guest to the French West Indian island of St. Barts recently as part of the Carabavia Aviation Meetup event that St. Maarten so ably hosted last month. It was my second visit to this tiny (9.7 square miles) Overseas Collectivity of France and no less impressive than the first, more than a decade ago.
What immediately stands out is the pristine condition of its entire surroundings, spotlessly clean and not a single evidence of litter in sight. Clearly the population has pride in its environs. And this, less than two years (September 2017) since the ravages of Hurricane IRMA Yes! A small number of hotels have yet to re-open, but rather than a quick-fix, they have taken the long term opportunity to use the enforced closure period to upgrade and improve their plant.
Like Barbados, St Barts is tourism dependent, but its around 10,000 inhabitants appear not to need any frequent coaxing of the benefits that industry brings. Seemingly, no-one has to remind them of the need to re-cycle or responsibly dispose of rubbish, as they fully comprehend this is an overwhelmingly standard practice in all the major markets where their visitors travel from.
The island’s total room stock comprises of less than 30 hotels, most of them with 15 rooms or less. The largest has 58 rooms and the most expensive just 12. Private villas add another 400 properties to rent, which, when you include the hotels, accommodate around 70,000 long stay visitors per year. Another 130,000 arrive by yacht.
Clearly, they have assessed the value of small boutique hotels, where guests can be pampered and as a result, return year after year. It also seems inconceivable that any new hotel construction on St Barts would NOT be built in a sympathetic architectural style in complete harmony with existing development regardless of the period.
Comparison with larger tourism led destinations is of course difficult, but for those who have opted to construct faceless, visually hideous, tall square concrete blocks which appear more at home on Miami Beach or the shores of Cancun and the Dominican Republic should stop and think exactly why people pick a particular location.
The temptation is of course always there to build as quickly and cheaply as possible, but we also have to bear in mind what differentiates us from other holiday choices within the Caribbean.
With many hotels having a lifetime use of approaching 50 years, surely within that investment some consideration should be given to its aesthetic appearance? Especially, if we wish to retain what is often quoted as the accolade of an ‘iconic’ destination.
I urge all tourism planners and policymakers to consider visiting St Barts, who have not already been. Despite our long history growing tourism, there is always more that we can learn from others, to the undoubted benefit of everyone.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in US
Nature changes our world and human nature changes our world. And they both affect each other. The earth has a history of natural disasters and man-made disasters.
Unless it’s part of our job, most of us hurry and scurry without giving a mere thought to the billions of years in regard to celestial and earthly changes. Too much rain is a flood and too much sun is a desert. Of course, we shake in our boots when disasters like Hurricane Katrina destroy human life or when California earthquakes or blazing woodland fires wreak havoc. And we curse Mother Nature when other countries experience cataclysmic disasters; the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2017 hurricanes that ravaged Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands.
A conversational storm ensures about the ozone and global warming, in the wake of melting glaciers and increased floods. Both sides argue for their truths. We go about our daily lives; working, paying bills and raising our families. Notably, the world experienced substantial change far before the existence of human beings and pollution. As an ecosystem, nature strives for equilibrium. Can we treat our planet more kindly?
The universe changes and this includes the planets, stars, and all other cosmic bodies. Albert Einstein theorized the universe had a beginning; therefore the universe will have an ending. Matter and molecules change. Humankind has changed outer space by way of space pollution. Discoveries come with a price.
Earth, our colossal home of dirt and rocks, changes. Fire burns the forest and new growth appears. Seeds are planted and harvested. We dig up our backyards for pools and gardens. Soil and sand erode and are replaced or lost to bodies of water to be recycled in a million epochs. Industry changes the landscape. Humans irresponsibly consume in excess and pollute. We point a finger at the destroyers of the Amazon rainforest, but conveniently forget about one of the most horrendous environmental tragedies in American history; the toxic dumpsite called Love Canal in New York. The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was a catastrophic nuclear disaster. Contamination changes our planet.
Weather is a daily global occurrence of change. Sun, rain, wind, snow, sleet. Seasons change as the earth rotates. Major volcano eruptions, mountain landslides, and historical hurricanes happen. We expect changes in weather and in nature. Do we expect changes in how humans take care of the earth and the universe?
Many of us fear or ignore change. Embroiled in a history of ecological transformation, how did we become so annoyed with change in our daily lives? How did we become so separated from our organic and environmental roots? You can’t stop progress or can you?
For the masses, workaholism blots out time with nature and I’ll admit to being a reformed workaholic. Several years ago, an exhaustion meltdown pointed me in the direction of rest. I took a timeout and discovered relaxation. Insight into my overworking had visited in earlier times, but insight without response and change is only insight. Work is therapeutic, but so are rest, recreation, and play. Strive for balance in daily life and in the mist of change. And spend time in nature’s playground.
I’ve found deepening change by spending more time in natural environments instead of shopping malls. Solitude and nature can coexist on your patio as you meditate, read, pray. Take a hint from nature and beautify your surroundings. Small changes— are often the big changes. Bird watching has become a popular activity along with creating butterfly gardens and sweet havens for hummingbirds. City life doesn’t have to negate trips to the woods. Spending time outside affects your inside.
Our bodies are around seventy percent water and without it we perish. The next time you turn on the water facet—say thank you for the vital liquid. We breathe oxygen from trees, plants, and the atmosphere. We need the natural environment to sustain life. Therefore, we need to learn to interact in healthier ways with the bodies of water on our earth home.
Nature is an awesome playground and many people experience fun, laughter, and the making of memories from the mountains to the beaches. Hiking, bicycling, swimming, boating, picnicking, and outdoor activities stimulate and refresh the mind, body, and spirit. Lee Ann Womack sings, “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.” The awesome splendor of nature leaves me speechless and puts a mystical perspective on priorities. I’ve vacationed at the beach and each oceanic experience is connected to a physical and spiritual reawakening. A few days with sun and sand reduces stress and promotes a sense of tranquility. Visiting the Caribbean Islands is on my bucket list.
Humans interact with the environment by way of the senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell) and reconnecting our senses via nature heightens awareness, enhances curiosity, and gives perspective. Henry Beston wrote “The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.” Observing nature’s reaction to change may enhance resiliency and adaptation to what we cannot change and flexibility for what we can change.
Before you trot off to work each morning take 5 minutes and gaze at the sky. Inhale the air and exhale slowly. Stay in the moment. Reflect on the here-and-now.
I invite you to turn off technology gadgets and go outside with family or friends on weekends. Put worries on the back burner for a while. Do this on a consistent basis and incorporate it into your personal lifestyle. Think about it. Life changes and goes by unnoticed unless we intentionally stop and literally smell the roses along the way. You can make inside and outside changes in your own corner of the world while advocating for worldwide pollution management.
Try the following activities:
1. Go outside some night this week and gaze at the stars. Consider the physical properties of stars. What are stars made of? Do stars change? How are humans connected to the universe? the sun? the moon? How does the earth change when it rotates around the sun? Jump up and down and play with gravity.
2. Try to name the planets. What planet would you want to visit and why?
3. Pick a morning and watch the sunrise. Jot down your feelings.
4. Hold some soil in your hand. Describe how humans depend on these items for survival.
5. Purchase a plant for your windowsill. Ponder on the ingredients it needs to grow. What causes stunted growth?
6. Visit a body of water (i.e., pond, lake, river, stream, creek, ocean) and just lounge and listen.
7. Listen to the next rainstorm. Close your eyes and imagine you are a raindrop.
8. Discuss how your daily life activities change with each of the four seasons.
9. Make a home for toads and frogs in your backyard because they eat flies and bugs. Make peace with helper insects, bugs, and spiders, as they are a vital part of nature and the food chain.
10. Make a compost heap in your backyard from leafs and food scraps.
11. Pick up the trash regularly on the street or road where you live.
12. Read the eye-opening book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. We must teach our children to love and respect nature so future generations will flourish as planet earth flourishes.
13. Reread Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Published in 1962, this book is credited for laying the foundation for the environmental movement.
14. Consider joining a conservation organization or environmental club. Donate to the association of your choice.
15. Ollie Outside by Michael Oberschneider is a picture book that invites kids and parents to get outdoors and focus on family fun. Read it under a tree with your children.
Mother Nature and human nature are perpetually linked. And Albert Einstein proclaimed, “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
As someone who grew up bathing on Heywoods beach, I am extremely concerned at the way Sandals construction of their Beaches hotel there is going. Putting aside for now, the current disagreement between the government and Butch Stewart over the indemnities Sandals want signed into law, there are other aspects of what is going on there that need urgent attention.
First, representatives of Sandals have repeatedly stated at public meetings in Speightstown that the construction of the hotel would not result in worse access to the beach for local people than we enjoyed previously. However, Sandals has carried out beach reconstruction which pushes the shoreline out into what used to be the sea. As a result, the traditional path onto the beach from the Speightstown end, which has been used for as long as I can remember, will now be well above the high water mark and so fall squarely within Sandals’ private property. There is a need for an ironclad undertaking from Sandals that this traditional path will remain open for use by local people as an access route onto the beach.
Secondly, Sandals has given repeated assurances that the construction of the new hotel would be done in such a way as to avoid damaging the local environment. However, they have been using crushed limestone as part of the reconstruction of the beach. This material which is produced and supplied by C.O.Williams Construction Company Ltd is entirely different in appearance and texture to natural beach sand. I understand that the intention is to deposit this material in the sea and use dredged beach sand at the later stages of the project to finish off the beach. However, the use of this material is having a negative impact on the environment. When it is placed in the sea, it is producing a white film that covers the water and nearby reefs and also causing increased cloudiness in the water, thereby affecting the sea life. In addition, while it is stacked on the beach it is interfering with the nesting of the turtles, particularly for the hatchlings which have difficulty digging their way out of it.
Sandals promised that the Heywoods beach would be reopened for public use by December 2018. It’s now April 2019 and the beach is still not opened. It’s essential that the people of Barbados do not allow Sandals to break any more of their promises with regard to the construction of this hotel.
In Barbados there is the prohibition on single use plastic about to be firmed up. Although the deadlines have been moved Minister of the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey promises that the day will come where Barbados will be free of single use plastic. Could there be another side to the story that is triggered by being plasticless.
The following article is reproduced in the context thanks to BU family member Fearplay.
– David, blogmaster
Fiona Goodall/Getty Images – Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of Planet Money’s newsletter. You can sign up here.
It was only about 40 years ago that plastic bags became standard at U.S. grocery stores. This also made them standard in sewers, landfills, rivers and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They clog drains and cause floods, litter landscapes and kill wildlife. The national movement to get rid of them is gaining steam — with more than 240 cities and counties passing laws that ban or tax them since 2007. New York recently became the second U.S. state to ban them. But these bans may be hurting the environment more than helping it.
University of Sydney economist Rebecca Taylor started studying bag regulations because it seemed as though every time she moved for a new job — from Washington, D.C., to California to Australia — bag restrictions were implemented shortly after. “Yeah, these policies might be following me,” she jokes. Taylor recently published a study of bag regulations in California. It’s a classic tale of unintended consequences.
Paper or plastic?
Before California banned plastic shopping bags statewide in late 2016, a wave of 139 California cities and counties implemented the policy themselves. Taylor and colleagues compared bag use in cities with bans with those without them. For six months, they spent weekends in grocery stores tallying the types of bags people carried out (she admits these weren’t her wildest weekends). She also analyzed these stores’ sales data.
Taylor found these bag bans did what they were supposed to: People in the cities with the bans used fewer plastic bags, which led to about 40 million fewer pounds of plastic trash per year. But people who used to reuse their shopping bags for other purposes, like picking up dog poop or lining trash bins, still needed bags. “What I found was that sales of garbage bags actually skyrocketed after plastic grocery bags were banned,” she says. This was particularly the case for small, 4-gallon bags, which saw a 120 percent increase in sales after bans went into effect.
Trash bags are thick and use more plastic than typical shopping bags. “So about 30 percent of the plastic that was eliminated by the ban comes back in the form of thicker garbage bags,” Taylor says. On top of that, cities that banned plastic bags saw a surge in the use of paper bags, which she estimates resulted in about 80 million pounds of extra paper trash per year.
Plastic haters, it’s time to brace yourselves. A bunch of studies find that paper bags are actually worse for the environment. They require cutting down and processing trees, which involves lots of water, toxic chemicals, fuel and heavy machinery. While paper is biodegradable and avoids some of the problems of plastic, Taylor says, the huge increase of paper, together with the uptick in plastic trash bags, means banning plastic shopping bags increases greenhouse gas emissions. That said, these bans do reduce nonbiodegradable litter.
Are tote bags killing us?
What about reusable cloth bags? We know die-hard public radio fans love them! They’ve got to be great, right?
Nope. They can be even worse.
A 2011 study by the U.K. government found a person would have to reuse a cotton tote bag 131 times before it was better for climate change than using a plastic grocery bag once. The Danish government recently did a study that took into account environmental impacts beyond simply greenhouse gas emissions, including water use, damage to ecosystems and air pollution. These factors make cloth bags even worse. They estimate you would have to use an organic cotton bag 20,000 times more than a plastic grocery bag to make using it better for the environment.
That said, the Danish government’s estimate doesn’t take into account the effects of bags littering land and sea, where plastic is clearly the worst offender.
Stop depressing me. What should we do?
The most environment-friendly way to carry groceries is to use the same bag over and over again. According to the Danish study, the best reusable ones are made from polyester or plastics like polypropylene. Those still have to be used dozens and dozens of times to be greener than plastic grocery bags, which have the smallest carbon footprint for a single use.
As for bag policies, Taylor says a fee is smarter than a ban. She has a second paper showing a small fee for bags is just as effective as a ban when it comes to encouraging use of reusable bags. But a fee offers flexibility for people who reuse plastic bags for garbage disposal or dog walking.
Taylor believes the recent legislation passed in New York is a bad version of the policy. It bans only plastic bags and gives free rein to using paper ones (counties have the option to impose a 5-cent fee on them). Taylor is concerned this will drive up paper use. The best policy, Taylor says, imposes a fee on both paper and plastic bags and encourages reuse.
This bag research makes public radio’s love for tote bags awkward, doesn’t it? It might be weird, though, if we started giving out plastic grocery bags.
The Minister of the Environment Wilfred Abrahams toured the location last week where two tanks designed to support the treatment of sewage by the Bridgetown Sewage Plant have been allowed to deteriorate because of lack of maintenance. What he revealed to the public is that one well has been out of operation for almost two years and the other is operating at 20% capacity. God forbid the single operating well fails, the potential for another south coast event of greater magnitude is predicted to be the result.
The 2018 general election is behind us and ALL the ministers and members of parliament paid a price for their inept management of the affairs of Barbados. The final tally of the votes revealed that 70% of the voters placed their X next to Barbados Labour Party candidates. However, there are two questions Barbadians must ask and demand answers:
How were South Coast and Bridgetown sewage plants allowed to deteriorate to the current state and the local media not made aware either via investigative effort or from ‘sources’ and information shared with the public?
There is a management team in place at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) charged with the responsibility for the management of waste water and all that it entails. Should senior managers at the BWA be held accountable for the sewage disaster as well?
Call out the prayer warriors as a nation holds its collective breath for the next 28 days.
If for no other reason the general election season is a good opportunity to vent on the issues. One issue the blogmaster will be keeping an eye is how will the parties address waste management in the near, medium and long term. It was a big ticket item for the last government (DLP) however ten years later, it remains an outstanding item.
Here is a bullet extracted from the 2013 DLP Manifesto:
Provide sustainable solutions in the areas of solid waste management and water scarcity;
The sight of sewage water flowing on the streets of the South Coast which is located in the heart of our tourist belt continues to be a worry, increasing tourist arrivals notwithstanding. The issue is not that the design of the Sewage Plant was flawed under a BLP government. It is that for ten years those in charge of running the country were aware and allow the problem to get worse. We know that if the government was not aware the leader of the Opposition shared the information with the prime minister two years ago and he trivialized her attempt to draw attention to the issue. A similar reasoning is true for the situation unravelling at the Supreme Court.
What will be done to deal with the issue of raw sewage leaking on the South Coast AND elsewhere must be a national debate in the next 25 days. We stress on elsewhere because the blogmaster observed weeping manholes in Lake Folly.
Here is the pump adjacent to Lucky Horseshoe that is overflowing, again. The BWA promised that the 10 inch pump would have addressed this issue. The video was shot yesterday evening.
Submitted by Cathal Healy-Singh (Environmental Engineer, Public Interest Advocate, Advisor to Fishermen & Friends of the Sea, FFOS) comments on the August 2017 T&T draft of the National Environmental Policy (NEP) Trinidad.
BU finds the comments by Healy-Singh contained in the 12 page document interesting and suggest similarly qualified individuals in the Barbados space similarly accept the responsibility to educate a “national environmental” illiterate public.
The following is the last paragraph of the report. Given the unstable national environmental climate in Barbados read South Coast Sewage plant, proposed Hyatt hotel build on lower Broad Street, Eugene Melnyk’s recent claim about an unsafe cliff at the Crane, an ineffective and inefficient waste management system, proposal to drill for oil off the West Coast …the absence of a comprehensive National Environment Policy is a worry to the environmental literate. The BU household recommends the attached document to assist with the demystification process of an important issue which has import locally and regionally.
Finally, the most recent national environmental literacy rates published in 2016 by the EMA alarmingly reveal that only 2% of the national population is even aware that a National Environmental Policy exists. This in my view is a public interest crisis. If the 2018 NEP does not in fact “belong to the people” and is perceived to belong to the “1%” (special interests) and their attendant politicians, then the 2% who are actually aware of not only its existence, but its inherent weaknesses (including technocrats), may become increasingly apathetic and disillusioned. The other 98%, especially the youths, already feel betrayed and even angry at how a place as rich and blessed as we once were, could have succumbed to so much crime, corruption, pollution and poverty. Any NEP will remain insignificant to them unless it is crafted to serve their very best interests.
Senator Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, addressed the UN earlier tonight at its annual General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. This was her 8th time speaking at the UNGA and tonight’s speech was the standard repetitive language one has come to expect from the Minister. It therefore came as no surprise, particularly with the destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, that she would mention climate change and the environment.
Ms. McClean delved straight into it, referring to UNGA speeches by Prime Ministers Thompson and Stuart, in 2008 and 2015 respectively, where they warned about the seriousness of the climate change threat and the pressing need for strong action. She noted similar admonitions from other leaders of small island nations and lamented that what we were seeing happening in the region was because “this clarion call from the Caribbean was ignored.” Ms. McClean reaffirmed Barbados’ commitment “to ambitious action on climate change and contended that its “support for global climate change action is a component of its overall policy of promoting and protecting the environment.”
The Minister also spoke about Barbados’ people-centred and inclusive development and the need for the international community to take action to implement the commitments made by all countries in the SAMOA Pathway, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
A few weeks ago, I read a GIS press release which informed that Mr. Denis Kellman, Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development, had attended a UN High Level Meeting on The Effective Implementation of the New Urban Agenda in New York and delivered a speech. According to the press release, Mr. Kellman told the meeting that Barbados had put measures in place “including amendments to the Physical Development Plan to ensure that development on the island continued to be progressive, orderly and sustainable”. He also said that “Government encouraged developers to locate housing for seniors close to amenities and services to meet daily needs, promoted the development of new housing which was fully accessible to people with disabilities, and continued to require that new developments and significant renovations in public spaces be accessible to all.” Finally, he threw in the usual jargon about green economy, renewable energy and environmentally-sound waste management and all of their concomitant socio-economic benefits.
The drastic difference between the claims of Ministers McClean and Kellman and the reality in Barbados is such that one wonders if they are speaking of the same country. They both convey the impression of an island in which development benefits everyone and safeguards the environment. I wonder then how do they explain the wilful lack of a comprehensive set of environmental laws in Barbados and the almost non-existent implementation of the few laws that are there. How do they account for the long list of environmental desecration under both political parties that are manifestations of the total opposite of what he told the UN?
Environmental destruction caused by Sandals
How do they rationalise the decision to build a Hyatt right next to one of Barbados’ most beautiful beaches, Browne’s Beach, and the absolute lack of transparency in the entire approval process? What about the chaotic monstrosity that is now Warrens? Are Coverly, Grotto and the South Coast sewage fiasco examples of this progressive, orderly sustainable development? What about Sandals and their decimation of the environment in the area of their resort? The same Sandals that their government has with much secrecy provided massive incentives to at the expense of Barbadian taxpayers. What about Four Seasons and the overnight destruction of trees some years ago? What about Greenland and Cahill? What about the relentless concretisation of much of Barbados at the behest of both parties? Or the fact that much of the coast has been decimated by tourism based infrastructure and one can drive on large parts of the South and West coast of the island without knowing that one is next to the water. That much of the flooding in Barbados is as a result of our insistence on building in a way that destroys natural water courses and a fragile ecosystem. That this is further exacerbated by the Bajan addiction to littering and dumping, especially in gullies. Or that successive government have barely attempted to tackle the dumping problem despite repeated statements every few years about some type of strong action that will supposedly be taken. What about the elephant in the room? The fact that the entire maritime delimitation exercise with Trinidad and Tobago had nothing to do with fishing. That both administrations are dedicated to offshore drilling in the hope that Barbados can “diversify” its economy with oil. The two obstacles to realising this have been finding a willing partner and their own inefficiency, one of the only times government ineptitude can be said to be something positive. The environment doesn’t factor in when there is a thirst for oil! And I could go on listing for pages.
The two Ministers though are not alone in what they communicate to the international community contradicting what actually occurs at home. Over the years, different Ministers, irrespective of party, as well as government officials have ventured on the international stage and waxed lyrical about sustainable development, climate change and the environment. I used to be one of these government officials, both speaking myself and writing some of the speeches for Ministers. We have talked about our commitment to sustainable development, our vulnerability and the need for the international community to do more to help us including financially. We have championed ourselves as the grandfather of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and a voice for climate action. Yet, at home, we engage perversely in destructive environmental practices. The assertions about Barbados’ devotion to environmental protection are therefore far-fetched. This may be discomforting to hear for those who have bought the story of Barbados and SIDS but it is the truth.
Why does there always have to be something on my mind – which I feel compelled to share? My input will not always be taken favorably, but will hopefully have some impact on those I care about.
The newspapers are quite a resource for learning about matters which affect us and issues that are important. In the “Alter Call” feature this last week, a Reverend Mr. Dottin pleads with young people not to sacrifice their virginity on the alter of a vampire. He says that they must stay away from pornography, trust the word of God, take a stand against social media and not sacrifice long-term goals for short-term pleasures. There are many other articles; “Time to focus on rebuilding economy”, calls to “fill in the public on deficit financing” and an invitation from The Ministry of Agriculture for dialogue with people working with youth in agribusinesses. “Calls to step up water message”, “The Future of Water in Barbados” held at UWI and a “Ministerial message for World Water Day”, which I fear are not being seen by the majority of Barbadians.
“We must get serious” if we really wish to see change come and for prosperity to be attained by all people. “Waste not, want not” also applies to opportunities. “More advice for Govt” must be augmented with actions by the private sector, civic organizations and the church to bring knowledge and wisdom to the wider community, in order that our entire society may be empowered to participate; to flourish.
Land, labor and capital must seek to develop a formula that encourages increased local productivity, reduced consumption of foreign reserves, care for our natural environment and one another.
Having had the pleasure of viewing “A Plastic Ocean” last evening at The Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, (kudos to the newly formed ‘Plastic Oceans Trust’) and hearing the children ask some rather pertinent questions afterward, it occurred to me that there is the need for a new lifestyle governance culture, to be designed and developed, so our country may model ‘future sustainable development’ to the world. This might be called “Environomics”. Imagine the future value of monetary savings that a typical family might accrue, by choosing not to spend on disposable packaging but it must first be charged for separately to allow such healthy mechanism to function. How about the earning capacity for PAROS (people around recycling others stuff) and the financial savings to government from commensurately reducing the demand for expensive landfill space; not to mention enhanced foreign exchange benefits, if policies were legislated that resulted in households having to pay only for mixed garbage – where sorting of waste – to facilitate regeneration of these valuable resources might translate to tax savings for those who participate. Likewise, greater food security can also be attained by implementing separate collection of ‘green waste’, for composting / blending, to produce valuable soil amendments for agricultural remediation.
We must start with what often appears to be the little things, if we expect to thrive in the national sense. Join the campaign, to help spread awareness about the need to “keep our island clean”, spiritually, mentally and physically. Help to educate family, friends and fellow citizens, by speaking out, using social media and supporting efforts that share ideas for the betterment of your community. Do the right thing!
The following article is reproduced in the interest of public safety.
EPA Official Accused of Helping Monsanto ‘Kill’ Cancer Study
by Joel Rosenblatt, Lydia Mulvany, and Peter Waldman – March 14, 2017, 6:18 PM GMT March 15, 2017, 12:44 AM GMT
The Environmental Protection Agency official who was in charge of evaluating the cancer risk of Monsanto Co.’s Roundup allegedly bragged to a company executive that he deserved a medal if he could kill another agency’s investigation into the herbicide’s key chemical.
The boast was made during an April 2015 phone conversation, according to farmers and others who say they’ve been sickened by the weed killer. After leaving his job as a manager in the EPA’s pesticide division last year, Jess Rowland has become a central figure in more than 20 lawsuits in the U.S. accusing the company of failing to warn consumers and regulators of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicide can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Rowland told a Monsanto regulatory affairs manager who recounted the conversation in an email to his colleagues, according to a court filing made public Tuesday. The company was seeking Rowland’s help stopping an investigation of glyphosate by a separate office, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, that is part of the U.S. Health and Human Service Department, according to the filing.
A federal judge overseeing the glyphosate litigation in San Francisco said last month he’s inclined to order Rowland to submit to questioning by lawyers for the plaintiffs, who contend he had a “highly suspicious” relationship with Monsanto. Rowland oversaw a committee that found insufficient evidence to conclude glyphosate causes cancer and quit last year shortly after his report was leaked to the press.
Monsanto vice president of global strategy Scott Partridge said in a phone interview that it would be “remarkable” if Monsanto could manipulate the EPA under the Obama administration. The unsealed emails represent “a natural flow of information” between the company and the EPA, Partridge said. “It’s not an effort to manipulate the system.”
Asked about emails specifically describing Monsanto working with Rowland to kill the glyphosate investigation by the toxic substances agency, Partridge said he would review the messages and respond at a later date.
If Chief Town Planner Mark Cummins had his way, school children in Barbados would be walking to school, instead of driving there, as a means of easing some of the current congestion on this country’s roads. “However, the Town & Country Planning Department top official said the proposal for full zoning of this island’s primary and secondary schools continues to run into a major roadblock put up by education officials. – Zone them, Barbados Today 1 March 2017
Dear Mr. Cummins, let me start with the last part of this lecture which you gave first. I hope your colleagues of this illustrious regime heed your words, as this is what we all have been saying all along.
Talking about congestion: What about the congestion on Bay Street?
Wouldn’t that monstrosity which you are allowing to be built opposite Bethel Methodist church cause more congestion than we already have on that stretch of road, or will these be such high rollers that they will have a helipad at their disposal?
I hope that you can take the consequences of your folly by allowing it to be built in a UNESCO designated space!
Zoning sounds like a good proposition. It would have the following advantages:
1) Lessen the air pollution
2) Decrease the number of obesity cases
3) Decrease the congestion
On the other hand the children will directly inhale the exhaust fumes – especially the diesel particulates which go directly into the lungs like the coal particulates which cause cancer, and they will be exposed to those who put the pedal to the metal everywhere they go.
Primary school students would have short attention spans. They could be walking along quite normally for a while, but it only takes one to start pulling at the other, and the group would forget where they are, and then an accident is not far away.
Many schools are already built where there’s a high volume of traffic, so the students, teachers and auxiliary staff are being exposed to high pollution levels.
No amount of eating healthy and exercising can stop some of them from contracting one NCD or the other!
The Minister of the Environment promised in 2015 that anti-pollution laws are on the cards for next year. I don’t know what he meant by next year because the next year has come and gone, and it doesn’t seem as if we’ll get them this year either. He’s talking about green energy, but is including waste-to-energy, gas and oil. I don’t know what those three have to do with green energy.
Seeing that Barbados is a country where there is one law for the Medes, and another for the Persians, some people will still be allowed to send their scions to whichever school they prefer.
When one drives past Luther Thorne on mornings/afternoons when the students are being taken to/picked up from school one sees vehicles with number plates marked L, E, P, etc., yet those who live in the vicinity cannot get their children into that school.
With the high schools it’s the same thing, only that parents will mostly have to accept the school for which their offspring has passed.
Still some of them will be able to get their children into the school of their choice.
If people cannot get the necessary transport to get to and from work, how do you expect them to be productive?
They spend two to three hours standing in the terminals so they will get to work late, and they will obviously be frustrated by the time they get there. It isn’t as if when they get the bus they’ll be there in five minutes. Many of the commuters have an hour to travel before they get to work. How do you expect them to start work immediately?
Many of them have to get up at three in order to prepare something for their scions and themselves. They also have to make sure that the children have everything they need for the day in their bags. On evenings the reverse is true. Two or three hours waiting for a bus, then a one-hour journey home for some of them. When they arrive home they are tired and frustrated, and therefore are sometimes no use to themselves nor their scions.
How are they – especially if they are females running single-parent households – to help their children with their homework or whatever else?
You will not have a productivity increase if public service transport remains the way it is at present, so you will still be spinning top in mud.
In First World countries which I’ve visited the public service transport runs like clockwork. If a bus/train/tram is scheduled to arrive at 6.05, then one can rely on it being there. Even in winter such transport is seldom later than ten minutes. That’s why countries like Germany, Britain, the USA, Canada, and others are where they are. Give the people proper public service transport, and stop trying to bully them into doing something which is not attainable without it.
Another thing is that some employers don’t pay their employees the wages they deserve, and get away with it. Some of them don’t pay their part of the NIS, which they are supposed to pay, for years.
World Health Organization, 6 March, 2017, Geneva:
Environmental pollution kills 1.7 million children each year.
More than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years of age are attributable to unhealthy environments. Every year, environmental risks – such as indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene – take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years, say two new WHO reports.”
In 2014, 92% of the world population was living in places where the WHO air quality guidelines levels were not met.
As Minister Of the Environment I toured the plant and the swamp and what I was told about he plant and its capacity to function perfectly . I was told that a plant was built that was not suited for us and they have to dump . The most affected person is the lady by the corner by the swamp , who had problems from the inception. MIA AND HER GROUP must take blame for building an outdated plant and now blaming the DLP. We will clean up your mess again. Buses, sanitation trucks, windmill and Sewerage Plant all new to Barbados to old to the world
The Cahill project may be a thing of the past, but the Freundel Stuart administration has not abandoned the idea of a waste-to-energy plant on the island.In fact, Minister of the Environment Dr. Denis Lowe warned that Barbados ‘cannot fully develop without the inclusion of waste-to-energy technology’, as he piloted a resolution on the Barbados Green Economy Scoping Study in Parliament – Barbados TODAY dated October 25, 2016
Once again someone in this Government is trying to lay the blame for his dilemma on the populace of this country. When they wanted to hike the water rates Minister Kellman came up with the flimsy excuse that the populace used the most water in the island, whereas it’s evident that the hotels especially, use the most water. Other businesses, and Government also use a lot of water.
Waste Generation and Disposal Requirements
Waste generation is closely linked to population, though for Barbados, tourism contributes a disproportionate quantity of waste. A rule-of-thumb is that each tourist generates roughly three times the waste of a local person in the same period of time.
If we take as an example that 50,000 tourists came to Barbados in any given year, how much waste would they have generated as opposed to 50, 000 locals?
I didn’t go to university so I need you to do the math for me.
Why do you single out the businesses – especially the restaurants – to put on the pranger?
What tax do you want to call this one?
The business tax?
I guess the businesses -including the restaurants, already pay heavy taxes, except they are one of those belonging to Sandals which doesn’t pay any taxes and won’t be doing so for years to come.
You can fleece the indigenous businesses and the rest of the populace, but you can waiver the taxes for some foreign entity, and in the meantime renege on your promise to give the other hotels of the BHTA the same sweetheart deal you gave to Sandals with the stroke of a pen.
Which type of waste-to-energy plant are you planning for Barbados, Mr. Minister?
Under 2) Gasification, of the said Burnside report it states:
Several waste gasification processes have been proposed, but few have yet been built and tested, and only a handful have been implemented as plants processing real waste, and mostly in combination with fossil fuels.
Wouldn’t such a plant produce more environmental pollution than we already have?
What made you lash out at some of your Government’s favourite people?
Have they stepped out of line?
Won’t you have to depend on them some time again?
Where are the anti-environmental pollution laws which you promised us for this year, Mr. Minister?
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.