Tag Archives: World Environment Day

Celebrate World Environment Day by asking: Where is the promised Environmental Protection Act?

Why worry about chemical spills when you have champagne and pate?

Dear Current and Past Environment Ministers: Why didn’t you pass an Environmental Protection Act in the last 20 years?

After four and a half years of Democratic Labour Party government, Barbados still lacks an Environmental Protection Act. Of course the DLP has a ways to go to equal the record of Owen Arthur and the Barbados Labour Party – who couldn’t pass an Environmental Protection Act in 14 years in power.

Our Environment Ministers are pretty good at champagne and pate parties, but not so good at passing and enforcing laws that would regulate the use and disposal of toxic chemicals. Heck, Liz Thompson took the champagne and pate thing all the way to a position with the United Nations – and she never passed an Environmental Protection Act either.

Why not take advantage of the invitation from the Bellairs Research Institute and the Government to Celebrate World Environment Day with some of the very politicians who couldn’t pass Environmental Protection Legislation in a combined 20 years of DLP and BLP governments? You can ask Dr. Lowe and other government people when they will be bringing in the promised legislation.

So-Called “Clean-Up” By Shell Oil In Barbados. We have no Environmental Protection Act so why should Shell care?

Perhaps some SOL or Shell representatives will be there too and you can ask them when Bajans can expect to stop pulling up buckets of jet fuel from water wells on the southern coast.

Here’s your invitation to the party, ‘refreshments’ (YES!) and a movie!

You are Invited to Celebrate World Environment Day!

Join us Tuesday, 5th June 2012
at Bellairs Research Institute, Folkestone, St. James
5:00 – 7:00pm

World Environment Day – 2012  is being hosted by Bellairs Research Institute and the Ministry of Environment and Drainage, Government of Barbados.  We have scheduled some intriguing and entertaining activities for the evening – as well as some refreshments for your delight.

You are invited to:

“Paint Your Pledge, Plant Your Pledge or Purchase Your Pledge”.

Afterwards the Future Centre Trust will be screening a free film at Bellairs called, “One Day on Earth”.  You can find-out more about this interesting film by checking http://www.onedayonearth.org on the internet.

As a celebrant of World Environment Day, you affirm your commitment to the community and our planet. For further details please contact Kashia Whitehead, Coordinator, at enquiries@bellairs-mcgill.org or telephone 422-2087.

We look forward to seeing you!
Sincerely,

Jill Parlee
&
Susan Mahon
Academic and Managing Director
Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University

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Filed under Barbados, Environment

World Environment Day in Barbados – media event vs. reality

It's not news... it's Environment Minister Lowe performing for the media at a staged event.

Show-business government – entertain the masses, but don’t talk about results

World Environment Day on Saturday, June 5, 2010 produced a frenzy of statements by our government Ministers and about a dozen newspaper articles faithfully regurgitating the government press releases. Environmental promises, pledges and symbolic gestures were many – but examples of accomplishments and real action were limited to only one that we can see: a clean-up of Carlisle Beach by LIME employees.

No questions in the media about how 135 bags of garbage were taken from a beach supposedly looked after by the National Conservation Commission (NCC)

Again with one exception, absent from the recounting of the day in the media is any critical thinking or questions – especially about how Barbados, its people and its government performed during the past year in relation to the environment. The powers that be decided that World Environment Day in Barbados would be a feel-good bit of entertainment where no issue would be seriously discussed – and that’s exactly what Bajans received.

Feel good entertainment about the Environment with no action taken

After some introductory musical entertainment to attract a few onlookers, Patrick Todd, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce gave a speech at Heroes Square for what the Barbados Advocate called “World Environmental Day 2010 celebrations”. Todd’s speech had all the buzzwords – “sustainable”, “coastal marine ecosystems”, “green economy” – and contained some generally acknowledged truths, such as…

“We must facilitate the development of renewable energy resources such as wind, sun, biomass, solid and liquid waste and environmental friendly forms of fossil-based fuels such as natural gas. We must promote the recycling of our solid and liquid waste. We must protect our coastal waters and coastline and the purity of our water supply and atmosphere. We must also ensure the efficient construction of our roads and infrastructure through best-practice environmental and infrastructural technologies,”

Minister Todd as quoted in the Barbados Advocate story Todd: Take action on environmental protection

Minister Todd did not mention that his government has not delivered an Environmental Protection Act, and the lapdog reporters conveniently forgot about that little detail too.

You’ll notice that Minister Todd has to say “We must…” throughout the speech, not “We did…” or “We are…” and that pretty well sums up World Environment Day in Barbados. Next year the Ministers will probably still be saying “we must” rather than “we did” because like the BLP, the DLP are predominantly engaged in show business government: entertainment and symbolic gestures but little real advancement or doing. They keep making the same promises because we, the citizens and our news media, continue to allow them to do so without any accountability.

Dr. Lowe announces that the government will be making an announcement in the future… really!

Minister Todd’s World Environment Day speech was also given by Environment Minister Denis Lowe – in some sections almost word-for-word.

Minister Lowe’s comments were primarily an announcement that an announcement will be made in the future about the proposed building of a garbage incinerator waste-to-energy plant, a leechade treatment plant and the final decision about Greenland. Yes, that’s correct folks: Denis Lowe gave an announcement of a future announcement of a proposal. (See the Barbados Advocate article Aiming to reduce pollution.)

The move away from landfills to energy producing incinerators is a good thing and was proposed by Barbados Free Press in 2006. Glad to see the government sees the wisdom. Now if we only could have faith they can make it happen for a reasonable price.

National Park announced for about the 10th time

Earlier in the week, Dr. Lowe announced for about the tenth time that Barbados is planning to create a national park stretching from Archer’s Bay to Consett Bay. It is amazing how much entertainment mileage the government has received from announcing over and over again that they WANT to make a national park. No reporters ever ask “You announced this for the 8th time about three months ago. What have you done since the initial announcement two years ago? What has changed? What progress has been made? What is the timeline and milestone goals?”

No reporters ever ask “Why did you shelve the proposed Graeme Hall National Park near the city and instead create a park in a place that is so difficult to get to?”

Nope, the Bajan news media keeps covering the National Park story every time it is freshly announced. No questions. No analysis. No difficult observations like a timeline documenting each announcement against a timeline showing no action taken.

Where is the long-promised Environmental Protection Legislation?

Long ago, Dr. Lowe promised that the new Environmental Protection Legislation would be put forth in February of 2009. It never happened and this year on World Environment Day our Bajan news media never even asked Dr. Lowe about the legislation.

The Barbados Advocate printed an editorial Protect the Environment where they try their best to call for environmental legislation without embarrassing the government. That was a tough job but the newspaper editors pulled it off without too much trouble… wouldn’t want to put those government advertising dollars at risk, you know!

World Environment Day a media success in Barbados!

World Environment Day in Barbados was a carefully staged feel good event designed to get the most positive media coverage possible for the government.

As a media event, it was a success. As a day to make Bajans think seriously about the  environment, it may have been less than effective and even counter-productive because the government handed out self-congratulations to itself for nothing and the news media let them get away with it. Thanks to the government and our news media, Bajans learned that merely speaking “green” words is enough for a pass.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment, Nature, Politics, Wildlife

Barbados Government announces Environment Month activities – Comic books, t-shirts, walks, but no Environmental Legislation yet

Environment Minister Denis Lowe

Environment Minister Lowe curiously absent from announced schedule

The Government of Barbados is holding several activities to observe Environment Month in June. The full press release can be found at the Barbados Government Information Service website

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version…

Wednesdays June 2, 9, 16, 23, 2010 – Lecture series

The Environment Ministry, in collaboration with the Barbados Institute of Environmental Professionals hosts a four-part lecture series to be held on consecutive Wednesdays, beginning June 2, at the Grande Salle, Central Bank.  The lectures will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Friday June 4, 2010 “Green T-shirt Day”

In observance of World Environment Day, the Ministry of the Environment will be staging an inaugural “Green T-shirt Day”, on Friday, June 4.  School children, and government officers and Barbadians everywhere are being encouraged to wear green t-shirts, green ribbons or green articles of clothing on the day.

Saturday June 5, 2010 – World Environment Day

The National Conservation Commission is sponsoring walks at 11 different routes across the island – each to culminate at various beaches or sites managed by the NCC.

There is no further information published online at the NCC website or anywhere that we found giving times and locations etc.

A recent story at Barbados Free Press announced that the National Conservation Commission and the Future Centre Trust are jointly holding a World Environment Day Parish Walk from the Eric Holder Centre in St Joseph to Bathsheba. Apparently there are 10 more walks being held at the same time.

Will Environment Minster Denis Lowe show up?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 – World Oceans Day

The NCC will be staging an innovative marine simulation event aimed at highlighting the skill and fitness of its lifeguard unit. The exercise, which will take the form of a team competition, will be held at Rockley Beach, Christ Church, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

June 12, 2010 – “Green Readings” on the picturesque south coast Boardwalk.

These will take place on Saturday, June 12 and 19 at 3:30 p.m. each evening.

June 17, 2010 – World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The Ministry of the Environment, in collaboration with its partners, will host an official launch of a Land Degradation Comic Book, which seeks to educate our nation’s children about this important issue.

June 19, 2010 – “Green Readings” on the picturesque south coast Boardwalk.

These will take place on Saturday, June 12 and 19 at 3:30 p.m. each evening.

Other Events

Schools will also play an integral part in the celebrations, when the National Heritage Department and the Environmental Protection Department hosts a series of hikes, 10 K walks and runs from June 17 through 19.

A number of other activities, including plant sales, tree plantings, hikes and beach events will also be staged during the month. A full events calendar will be unveiled in the very near future.

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Nature, Politics, Wildlife

Will Barbados Environment Minister Denis Lowe attend World Environment Day Parish Walk – Saturday, June 5, 2010?

Why does our Environment Minister shun citizen-organised Environmental events?

Minister Denis Lowe

With his friendly demeanor and large frame Barbados Environment Minister Denis Lowe is easy to spot when he appears in public, but other than his press interviews and carefully-staged talks at schools, political functions and Ministry show-projects, Mr. Lowe remains The Invisible Man to ordinary citizens.

Saturday, June 5, 2010 is World Environment Day (UN WED website here).

Commemorated on 5 June since 1972, World Environment Day is one of the principal vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.

This year, the National Conservation Commission and the Future Centre Trust are jointly holding a World Environment Day Parish Walk from the Eric Holder Centre in St Joseph to Bathsheba.  This event also marks the 40th Anniversary of the NCC.

We wonder if Environment Minister Lowe will attend this citizen-organised walk or if he will limit his participation to taking out one of his famous full page adverts in The Barbados Advocate. In lieu of the full page advert, perhaps he might be planning to do one of his “I am concerned” media interviews while standing in front of government crews cleaning drains. (The Barbados Advocate covers Dr. Lowe’s stand up interviews faithfully but that has nothing to do with the regular full page government advertisements… honest!)

Pardon our cynicism folks, but Dr. Lowe and his Ministry have been no-shows at so many environmental events that we have to wonder. Most recently the Barbados Government, Environment Minister Denis Lowe and the Environment Ministry were invited to participate in the planning and execution of No Plastic Bag Day.

Denis Lowe canceled a scheduled meeting with the Future Centre Trust at the last moment saying he had more important commitments. Lowe sent no stand-in. No Ministry of the Environment personnel responded to invitations either – and no politicians from any party showed up during the planning or on the day of the event. The Barbados DLP Government of Prime Minister David Thompson did do one thing though: the DLP denied a duty waiver on the green shopping bags imported as part of No Plastic Bag Day.

The good Doctor Lowe hasn’t been seen at any beach or gully clean-ups either. He’s also been conspicuously absent from the site of the Shell Oil pipeline spill since he was elected.

“There is no question that Shell Oil bought and paid for two successive Barbados governments. How else can we explain the actions of both the BLP and DLP governments in allowing this negligent and abusive company to walk away free from a major pipeline leak that polluted the water table over hundreds of acres, ruined agricultural land and still threatens our beaches?”

from the BFP article How Much Did It Cost Shell Oil To Buy Two Barbados Governments? Without Election Financing Laws, We’ll Never Know

Prior to the DLP victory in January 2008, Denis Lowe was happy to work with environmentalists and concerned citizens to look for justice for the victims of the Shell Oil pipeline spill. Lowe attended with Adrian Loveridge and others to pull buckets of Shell jet fuel from household water wells and demand that Shell take responsibility and clean up their mess.

That was prior to the DLP forming the government, of course.

Now? We have Shell Oil’s “fixer company” saying they will “ensure government buy-in” to Shell’s position.

Hey… Dr. Lowe, please tell us how much in “campaign donations” that you and the Democratic Labour Party have received from Shell, SOL or associated companies since you lost interest in the Shell Oil pipeline spill?

Does it matter whether or not Environment Minister Lowe shows up for World Environment Day?

At this point? Nope. It doesn’t matter at all. Not a bit.

Barbados Free Press will be there though. See you on Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 5am for a 6am start at the Eric Holder Centre in St Joseph.

(5am? I know, I know! But Clive promises he’ll either get up early or stay up all night. Do we believe him? Sure! 🙂 )

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Disaster, Environment, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Oil, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption