The time to learn is now!
The Time to learn is now!
Submitted by Molly Gaskin
President, Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust
A SUPER typhoon devastates the Philippines, thousands of people dead, thousands more displaced! Just a few months ago Hurricane Sandy slammed the east of the United States. Shock! Destruction! Heartbreak! The cost? Human lives; billions of dollars. Yet, a few days ago I was amazed to read an article in one of our daily newspapers that environmentalists impede progress and did not understand the complexities of “Public Works”. I continue to be amazed that here in Trinidad, some intelligent people, no, let me qualify that, some educated people, people who should know better, people in influential positions, fail to see that we are facing climate change on an alarming scale. To them, it is still “development baby, development”. At any price? And those who fight to preserve our natural assets are simply “obstructionists”, “stupidly standing in the way of progress”.
Thank God “Nariva did not die” and much of its wind belt, swamp forest, mangrove trees and palm forests survived the illicit rice farmers and continue to protect the coast, in fact the island. If, or rather when, a severe storm hits us that is the direction that it will come from. The Atlantic. What price do we put on the lives of our people? Besides the millions of dollars lost in infrastructure, what about the terrible aftermath that we will all have to face? When will we realise that sustainable development is the wise management of all our resources? Our Forests, savannahs, wetlands as well as agriculture, industry and development. Those that fight to preserve the natural environment are not obstructionists; our concern is that all government agencies, planners, developers, financiers and “big business” must become aware that sound environmental practices are to be everyone’s benefit, both in the short and long term. It must be realized that we cannot separate human society and its economic benefits from the natural environment and ecosystem destruction is linked to unsound developmental business and industrial practices and results in many diverse and serious social problems.
The community in Tacarigua, is fighting to save its savannah, its green space. Eddie Hart Grounds. Orange Grove Savannah. No community should be forced to do this. Not today! Public green spaces and commercial landscaping are vital in todays’s environment, they help treat waste water, reduce rain run-off and flooding, reduce pollution, combat the urban heat island effect, improve air quality and encourage wildlife biodiversity. Green spaces have the added benefit of increasing property values, decreasing costs of public services and improve the overall quality of life of the citizens. Green spaces can and are used as sports grounds and children’s playgrounds. One does not need a multi-million dollar, semi covered mass concrete, to do this! Therfe should be green spaces within all residential developments and within our towns and cities. Planners, engineers, developers and governments should be promoting green spaces and green infrastructure, not otherwise, and they need to take into account the very real impact of climate change and sea level rise facing us today, in all their decisions and investment strategies and begin to be a little, or rather, a lot more environmentally conscious.
The time to learn and to act properly, is now