It’s not easy being green. Famous lyrics from Kermit the Frog’s melodious lamentations on Sesame Street. However, things worth having do not usually come easy. By this logic then, being truly green and living a sustainable lifestyle must be highly valuable. But why?
To find out, the Life in Trinidad and Tobago team met with Carver Bacchus, the Founder and Director of Sustainable living T&T (Sustain T&T) and the Green Screen Environmental Film Festival. Established in 2011, Sustain T&T brings awareness to the issues of sustainable living and business in Trinidad and Tobago. The organisation focuses on the use of creative methods, like film and special events, to raise awareness, encourage dialogue and information exchange. We posed one question to Carver.
Why should Trinidad and Tobago Go Green?
T&T has benefitted from an energy subsidy that makes the cost of production cheap but encourages wastefulness. Eventually the cost of energy will have to come more in line with global prices. This will mean we will have to conserve and better manage our electricity in our buildings, in particular. Energy Management programmes should be built into all private, government, and commercial buildings.
The “Green” sector provides great opportunity for diversification and development as demand for more responsibly produced products and services grows worldwide. From cocoa and coffee, energy management services, artisan food products and eco-tourism, T&T has potential to expand our footprint meaningfully in these areas.
Extreme weather events are becoming more common place yet our national response to climate change has lacked concrete plans for implementation. In order to ensure we have resilient systems and infrastructure we have to ensure climate resilience is built into all our systems and organisations. This means that development should always be informed by a concern for the long terms security and prosperity of our citizens. From building codes to agriculture and fisheries, management of these varied areas must be informed by climate resilient approaches.
Proper support for the development of low impact agriculture can help to strengthen our food security. This will mean that we will not have to depend on imported food which very often is highly processed and produced with many chemical inputs – chemical fertiliser and pesticides, in particular. Increasing the supply of healthy food can help to reduce the pressure on public health infrastructure due to non-communicable diseases caused by diets of highly processed food laden with salt, sugar and fat.
Recent flooding events have highlighted our urgent need for intervention in the area of solid waste management, specifically, single use plastic bottles. The Beverages Container Bill, also called the “Bottle Bill” should be passed and implemented as a matter of urgency. Not only will this encourage the diversion of plastic bottles from our drains and rivers but also provide opportunities for employment and small business development.
These are five digestible reasons Trinidad and Tobago needs to step up to the plate and deliver on environmental policies and actions. How are you doing your part to protect the environment for future generations?