Environmental essay contest winner Dudley Ellis: “Many people fail to see the bridge between the environment and the economy.”

“Barbados… you decide”

Dudley Ellis of Harrison College took 1st Place honours and won a cool $1,250 in the Age 14-18 category of the 2011 national Canada-Barbados Environmental Essay Contest.

Hey, I’d be smiling too!

Here is Dudley’s winning essay…

Why is the Environment Important to Barbados?

Too very often we look at the environment as something that provides aesthetic pleasure for both locals and tourists alike. However, have we ever consciously taken the time to contemplate what Barbados would be like without a healthy environment? A disease-ridden, desolate and underdeveloped rock is what one could hazard as the possibility. The benefits to be derived from the environment are too numerous for one to exhaust. Among this myriad of advantages, things such as economic sustainability, improved general health of the populace and social inclusiveness are of key note.

Many people fail to see the bridge between the environment and the economy. Barbados, a country whose main foreign exchange earner is the volatile industry of tourism, must have a healthy environment if it is to continue. Our beaches, reefs, cane fields and caves are just some of the magnets that attract thousands of people to our small country year after year. Agriculture, industrial processing and even where one may reside are all decided by the environment. Poor management through accelerated soil erosion, depletion of arable land, contamination of both air and water degrade the environment to levels that make it unsustainable. If we destroy the natural resource we have today then what are we leaving for our future?

Dengue, tetanus, E. coli and pesticides in our water are some of the disastrous effects resultant from our neglect of the environment. Healthy surroundings not only reduce illness but allows for the cultivation of herbs and other plants that help to fight disease and promote life. Hotels who pump their waste into our sea, farmers who overuse fertilizers and pesticides and squatters who choose to live in areas where they can directly affect the water course are all writing a death sentence on our country. Even the cars on the road that billow black exhaust into our atmosphere create a plethora of respiratory problems that can affect Barbadians in the long run. Tell me, should a child develop asthma from smog inhalation that could have been avoided?

Since the environment impacts each of us, it is fair to say that all Barbadians are charged with the task of caring for it. Caring for the environment by planting trees, cleaning gullies and beaches as well as reducing pollution in its various forms nurtures a feeling of nationalism. When we as a country understand the true value of our surroundings then we can harness its maximum potential. This social inclusiveness has spillover effects such as improved waste management plans, reduced pollution and increased environmental longevity. Collectively, this augurs well for our development as a nation and a people.

Consequently, it is clear to see that the environment is of paramount concern for Barbados. Our economy, health and nationalism are all impacted upon by the state of our environment. The environment isn’t just our present but it’s our future as well. So I ask, “Barbados, tropical island paradise full of life and vigor or desolate, inhospitable death bed?” You decide.


Filed under Barbados, Economy, Education, Environment

4 responses to “Environmental essay contest winner Dudley Ellis: “Many people fail to see the bridge between the environment and the economy.”

  1. stephen

    The smog from trucks and poorly maintained cars and vans shouldn’t be allowed. How about emission levels set by law? Over the level; then off the road. How about we move to solar/electric cars over the next 10-15 years?

    Good essay. Don’t forget to send the PM a copy. Whoops, I forget; he read it here…

  2. CanuckBajan

    You speak a universal truth Dudley Ellis! As the well-known maxim says: The economy is a subsidiary of the environment. Let’s each do our part in our own back yard and pushing others to do the same instead of simply pointing fingers of blame.

  3. I fear for your grand-children!

    With the exception of about 5% of the island’s populace
    the entire culture of Barbados is ‘Throw-Away’.

    Mashup en Buy Back. God how we love it.
    Until this careless attitude to life and the island we live on is altered
    Bajans will continue to LOOOVE their plastic bags, to burn them,
    to take EVERYthing for granted
    -and to be generally selfish without even knowing they’re being selfish, not to mention doan-carish!

    The Environmental Message has been trumpeted worldwide now for at least 30 years.
    Thirty long years!
    Few global citizens have really and truly responded.
    Maybe 20% of humanity. Maybe.

    The response has been better in temperate climes
    but in the tropics? with no snow to make you think about survival during the cold half of the year? Ha HA.
    We simply couldn’t give a damn.

    Thank God I’ll be dead in 25-30 years, because this planet will be truly messed-up anytime after that
    when human population will be 9,000,000,000 and counting.

    Unintelligent Mankind is a scourge upon the face of the planet!
    I’m not talking about me and you: I’m talking about the clueless idiots out there who can’t stop reproducing, far less stop polluting.

  4. well done, dudley. the rest is up to us.