Barbados has done a lot to push environmental reform in the past, with much emphasis being placed on educating citizens about our surroundings and providing information on how we can play a part in promoting a green economy.
We are frequently reminded that this island does not have many natural resources to fall back on, and for that reason we should focus on improving our landscape and push towards a successful green economy.
As a consequence, Barbadians need to research and explore places like the Welchman Hall Gully as a means of reinforcing this school of thought. This representation of what Barbados has to offer environmentally is only scratching the surface. Welchman Hall Gully, which was bought by the Barbados National Trust in 1962, is rich in native tropical plants and trees and the wealth of information hidden amongst the vegetation should be valued by everyone on the island. Many of us think of locations such as Welchman Hall Gully, the Animal Flower Cave and Andromeda Gardens merely as tourist attractions, but what is their value if they cannot be enjoyed first and foremost by the locals? Maybe more exposure to our national treasures, parks and historical attractions, will foster a deeper respect and hence greater appreciation.
As the effects of climate change impact us more severely, along with changing weather patterns, increased temperatures and other adverse effects are experienced in Barbados, we have been flooded with information about the need to remain more environmentally conscious. Yet, the consensus is that even though everyone has accepted the fact that something must be done soon to reverse this destruction, the average person has not accepted his/her responsibility to protect his/her immediate environs. More serious action needs to be taken on an individual level.
Numerous members of our population have boasted that their charges are always warning them about the environment and the impact that their destructive actions can have. Unfortunately, for the most part, while the education of their children is spoken of with pride, this pride seldom extends to the reversal of the adults’ negative activities on the environment. This is where attitudes as a whole need to change.It is time for more serious attention to be paid to the slogan “Reduce, reuse, recycle”.
People as a whole think of protecting the environment in terms of preventing littering, pollution and illegal dumping. One should also think in terms of growing more food and plants so that the environment can ultimately thrive. Many are of the view that the actions of ‘the few’ are causing the country to run to ruin, but we must combat these destructive actions by redoubling efforts to increase the benefits of nature around us. The blame game must end.
Government, in doing their part to protect the environment, must also acknowledge that firmer action needs to be taken against individuals who are blithely contributing to the litter around the island. Authorities should also increase efforts to encourage Barbadians to reduce the use of household products that contain harmful chemicals and in general, take another look at the materials that we use daily, including machinery and vehicles that add pollutants to the atmosphere.
Respiratory diseases such as asthma and sinusitis have increased, especially in children, and studies have shown that pollution is partly responsible for this. Therefore, better management of the ecosystem is necessary.
Over the years, organisations, including various youth groups, have promoted the planting of more trees because they are vital to maintaining a balance in the ecosystem. Trees remove various kinds of impurities, including carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere and generally support life. Emphasis should now be placed on rebuilding what was destroyed and protecting what we still have. This is important if we want to maintain and improve our quality of life.