“Do we want these underwater kingdoms to perish like those on land?”
Juwayriyah Nana of Harrison College took 3rd Place (and $250!) in the Age 14-18 category of the 2011 national Canada-Barbados Environmental Essay Contest.
Here is Juwayriyah’s winning essay…
Why is the Environment Important to Barbados?
What about nature? It’s our planet’s womb.” Michael Jackson’s Earth Song perfectly echoes the essence of Mother Earth’s importance to the world. Nature is the world’s womb from which life evolves and from which mankind survives, then, does it not have a right upon us, the humans, who exploit it and leave a trail of destruction? This is the picture everywhere: burnt forests, eroding coastlines, increase in illegal dumping turning our surroundings into hazardous disasters waiting to happen. Barbados is not an exception and we need to identify the importance of the environment to us. For as Earl Nightingale said, “Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.” So, if a negative attitude pervades our people, their thoughts will translate into negative effects for our surroundings.
Tourism is seen as a major industry for foreign revenue in Barbados. With clear, warm waters and white, sandy beaches, the landscape are the main tools used in attracting tourists. We cannot then afford to pollute our primary sources of attraction. As a result of the expensive prices found here and the economic recession, Barbados is now competing with other tourist destinations around the world to maintain its economy and its standard of living. At whose expense do we litter on our beaches, marking our sandy shores with waste? Certainly not the tourists! It is heartening to see beach clean-ups being organised around the island but would it not be better, if, we, as a nation, dispose our garbage in the various cans and recycling bins?
Barbados’ coasts are bordered with coral reefs which are not only used as tourist attractions but also for fishing. Coral reefs are societies which act as barriers to waves whereby preventing land erosion. However, in recent years coral reefs are being destroyed either through pollution which smothers the coral or through damage by snorkelling or boats. Coral takes thousands of years to build and yet, here, we thoughtlessly destroy our natural protectors of our beaches against strong currents and storm surges. By destroying, we also lose the chance to attract marine biologists and to create a niche for the youth in exploring the flora and fauna of coral reefs. Like Michael Jackson sings, “we’ve turned kingdoms to dust.” Do we want these underwater kingdoms to perish like those on land?
As we affect the environment, so too does the environment affect us. In third-world countries, the unsanitary conditions provoke the outbreak of diseases which plague the impoverished. We cannot afford to lose our human resource – our people to health problems associated with poor environmental conditions. Preserving our environment extends to ensuring the good health and strength of our people.
We need to realise the importance of the environment and acknowledge mankind’s destructive force. We need to educate our people, show them ways to preserve our environment before time runs out. For “did you not stop to notice, the crying Earth, the weeping shores?” (Michael Jackson, Earth Song)
You can read all of the winning essays at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary website: CBEYA 2011 Essay Contest Winners