Shan Bovell of The Lodge School won Second Place and $500 in Ages 14-18 in the recent Canada-Barbados Environmental Essay Contest. Here is her excellent essay…
Why is the Environment Important to Barbados?
In an underdeveloped country, don’t drink the water; in a developed country, don’t breathe the air (Changing Times Magazine). The environment is the most fundamental unit of life for Barbados. It’s funny how the government only thinks about the environment when something drastic happens or when Mother Nature lays her hands on us. We have taken this key and unlocked a whole new world but haven’t been showing it the gratitude it deserves.
For too long we’ve been changing out environment to suit out needs or should we say “moving the earth to please” as the motto of C.O. Williams Construction Company says.
According to World Resources Institute in a case study entitled Reefs at Risk in the Caribbean, Lauretta Burke and Jon Maidens and contributing authors: Mark Spalding, Philip Kramer, Edmund Green, Suzie Greenhalgh, Hillary Nobles, Johnathan Kool. The Reefs at Risk analysis suggests that all the reefs around Barbados are threatened by human activities. Barbados is densely populated and has experienced a rapid increase in coastal development and tourism, with a consequent degradation of the marine environment. The reefs not only provide a shelter to fish and sea creatures but it also plays a major role in tourism e.g. snorkelling and sea-bathing.
Gullies in Barbados are home to wild vegetation and animals, which add a rich biodiversity to our luscious habitat. The gully alone hits all aspects of life. It is home to many species of plants, a safe haven to the green monkey, the Aerial Trek’s zip line and before you could have entered Harrison’s Cave via a gully. Illegal dumping in gullies is not only appalling but hazardous, bringing diseases and polluting our water supply and our soil. Not only is it hazardous but it doesn’t have a positive impact on Barbadians and visitors alike who see this disgusting mess.
If we protect our environment, we protect our tourism. Our government has been throwing away thousands of dollars instead of preserving our environment for future generations. Sun, sea and sand is not enough since other countries in the Caribbean offer these commodities. Dominica is called the Nature Island of the Caribbean as its environment remains unspoilt, something so rare that it draws tourist to the island. If we become versatile and use both coastal landforms and our land we can save our tourism industry. Activities such as the Island Safari tours which go more in to the island give tourist a different perspective and appreciation of the country.
We have modified our environment so radically that we must now modify ourselves to exist in this new environment (Norbert Wiener); technology alone can’t save us we must save ourselves. On the West Coast of Barbados, I can see major damage going on and I cannot understand how we Barbadians can sit and watch foreign investors just rip apart our coastline. We can no longer see, smell or hear the beach since hotel after hotel has lined this coastline. I’m calling on each person living on these 166 square miles, to please stop destroying our environment or it will destroy us.