Vicky Merrick, Nicole Garofano and all at The Future Centre – Barbados Environmental Heros work without the backing of laws

A marvelous article about the Future Centre’s leadership in recycling appears in the current edition of the McGill Reporter – the newspaper for McGill University in Montreal Canada.

Writer and undergraduate student Sibeal McCourt spent some time in Barbados last fall during a Field Study Semester and she was some impressed with Vicky Merrick and Nicole Garofano.

Sibeal McCourt

“…I also did an internship with the Future Centre, a local, not-for-profit organization promoting sustainable/environmental initiatives in Barbados. They were focusing on recycling while I worked with them.

Vicky Merrick and Nicole Garofano, who run the Future Centre, are so energetic and driven that you can’t help but be swept up in their mission to get Barbadians (locally referred to as Bajans) to recycle. Under the tutelage of Vicky and Nicole, my eyes were opened to the serious waste management issues present in Barbados. Their main landfill, the Mangrove Pond Landfill, is so overflowing that Bajans refer to it as “Mount Stinkaroo.”

Recycling in the Shadows of Mount Stinkeroo

The article goes on to talk about Miss (?) McCourt’s surprise that the Barbados government is not showing leadership in recycling and that we lack a government recycling programme…

“Coming from Canada, where recycling is government-run with scheduled pickups every week, I took waste management for granted. I thought that Vicky and Nicole were simply trying to expand on an already present recycling program, or educate people on how to recycle more efficiently. As it turns out, there is NO state recycling program in Barbados.”

Barbados: A country with no Environmental Laws

Although Miss McCourt’s article shows a very positive image of the folks who do such good work at The Future Centre and of Barbados and Bajans generally, left unsaid is the big truth about Barbados: Our country has no environmental legislation.

Oh, we’ve been promised environmental laws by every government since we gained independence back in 1966, but so far promises is all we have. I wonder if Miss McCourt is aware of the Shell Oil pipeline spill in Barbados where our impotent government has done nothing while Shell ruined the land and water and then pulled out leaving a big mess?

Shell could only do that because we have no environmental laws.

So thanks to Sibeal McCourt for her positive article and well-deserved congratulations to Vicky Merrick, Nicole Garofano and all those heros at The Future Centre. We hope that Sibeal will return to Barbados in 2010.

We also hope that the long promised Environmental Legislation is delivered soon by the David Thompson government and that it doesn’t have so many holes in it that a Shell tanker could motor through.

Well, Environment Minister Lowe… where is the legislation?

Further Reading

McGill Reporter: Recycling in the Shadows of Mount Stinkeroo


Filed under Barbados, Environment

9 responses to “Vicky Merrick, Nicole Garofano and all at The Future Centre – Barbados Environmental Heros work without the backing of laws

  1. reality check

    The Future Centre was the brainchild of the late Colin Hutson who walked the walk and believed in the beauty of living a simpler self -sustainable life.

    Those that have represented the government in the Ministry of Environment during his life and since his passing are a complete embarrassment to his vision all the while the rest of the world has been moving closer to it.

  2. Future Centre Trust

    This project was one that was a great success and we are extremely appreciative of the major funder who so willingly participated, TD Bank Financial Group. Thanks to Sibeal, Matt, Shona and Mackie for their work to complete the project! Now onto more Recycling Centres pending funds and interest! Make hay while the sun shines! You won’t always be paid for recycling, if the long term plan comes to fruition!

  3. Hants

    Recycling will become part of our daily lives.

    The other is the concept of growing food in your own country.

    The time will come when it will be too costly to transport food from other countries.

    The next major shift will be to alternative energy like Solar and Wind.

    The above is taken from predictions by people who are very knowledgeable about the dwindling supplies of Oil and Gas.

  4. Lucy

    Canada’s smallest island province (PEI) could offer some tips on recycling, from one island to another- they seem to have it “sorted” .

    I currently live in Ontario,(yes we reuse, recycle and compost ) am originally from PEI and have been visiting Barbados for over 27 yrs – with each visit I wonder how long your beautiful small island can sustain it’s current wasteful ways .

    Bravo Future Centre – keep up the good work , all our children depend on it.

  5. yep gotta agreee with the gang on this one. How long are bajuns going to sit by and let the government not do anything on the environment. It’s not the vast expanse of Canada (and they recycle) it’s BARBADOS for cryin out load. Land is in short enough supply, and most of the crap that ends up in the dustbin is recyclable, so why are bajuns not putting an end to it?
    E-mail, leave voice mail, write blogs, GET ACTIVE and let the voice of those who care be heard.
    I for one think a $0.50 deposit on all plastic bottles would be a great start towards seeing them get recycled. I’m sure it could be the source of some little industry or another. Just go to
    and have a peek at all the uses. Then start a homegrown business! Opps pinch me I’m dreaming again, I was on the planet where people care.

  6. oh and I forgot the most impressive news about can be used to create fuel… see
    Hard to believe and who knows what scale is needed to make it work but it just goes to show everyone that there are plaenty better ways to deal with plastic waste than landfill.

  7. 9Daywonder

    I don’t know if anyone else remembers, but some years ago there was a discussion on recycling in the island and the need to focus more on the environment. Many suggestions were put forward, but big business was not interested. Something as simple as standardising drink bottles to allow them to be more easily recycled was immediately shot down.

    Before we can go anywhere with anything as a country, them money men and bribe taking politicians are the first things that need to go on the compost heap.

  8. No change without proper laws

    to 9Daywonder

    The recycling must be made compulsory by law. “Pretty please” hasn’t worked in other countries. Education doesn’t work. Only laws work.