With growing demand globally for water, food and energy, one local researcher and lecturer says Barbadians should be concerned and must plan for a sustainable future.
Dr Adrian Cashman, senior lecturer in water resource management at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill-based Centre for Research Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) expressed dissatisfaction with the island’s level of food production and efficiency in water use.
Cashman was speaking at the inaugural Green Summit at the Foursquare Rum Distillery on the topic Water, Food and Energy Nexus: Is it Relevant to Barbados?
The two-day summit, held under the theme Regenerating Together, and sponsored by Slow Foods Barbados, brought together a number of players in the agriculture and environment fields in an effort to discuss more integrated approaches to local holistic and regenerative systems.
“Globally, the demand for fresh water is increasing. The demand for food is increasing and the demand for energy is increasing,” said Cashman.
“We are faced with some very big challenges. For example, some work suggests that by 2050 we are going to need 60 per cent more food to support the world’s population. If we are going to need more food, there are going to be implications; you are going to need water to grow that food and you are going to need energy to pump the water,” he said.
Noting that energy was also needed to transport and store the food produced, Cashman continued: “Should we be worried? Yes, we should be worried about this growing demand that we have on our resources.”
Cashman said the growing demand for water, energy and food, would place pressure on Government and it was therefore critical to have clear policies and goals and the involvement of relevant parties in various negotiations.
Adding that the growing demand would also impact on the society, Cashman explained that should there be high prices for food and water, then they would become unaffordable to some people.
Noting there would also be “challenges and opportunities” for businesses arising from the growing demand, Cashman urged the participants to have a vision of what future they wanted and influence policymakers and practitioners to work towards it.