The much talked about “green economy” is one of the most viable ways in which Barbados can secure sustainable growth but not enough Barbadians are aware of its potential.
And local advocates are hoping to reach more citizens with their message when the second Green Fair is held next month.
This morning at United Nations House, facilitators of the November 3-4 free event the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Future Centre Trust, underscored that transitioning to a green economy was in the best interest of small island developing states.
National Coordinator of the GEF Small Grants Programme in Barbados, David Bynoe, stated that, “the current economic model we find ourselves fixed with, which like many bigger countries is consumption led, production driven and GDP measured, is providing some serious challenges, and as we have seen from the recent downgrade, it is unsustainable.”
He noted that while the Barbados Government has talked about moving towards a green economy, “there is a big gap between awareness and the skills and expertise needed to develop it,” and it is hoped that activities like the Green Fair could assist in bridging this divide.
When asked whether people were taking the message of environmental awareness seriously, Bynoe said:”Our population can be divided into segments – there are people who are aware and actually practice it, some who are aware but don’t do it, and there are others who are not aware at all. I don’t think Barbadians can afford any new fines or taxes at this time, but people need to fully understand the costs of their behaviour. For example, if you go around your home and spray harmful chemicals, there is eventually a cost to your health, such as medical bills, and once you understand this, you will think of a more environmentally friendly method to use.”
Ann Harding of the Future Centre Trust echoed Bynoe’s concern regarding the lack of awareness. She noted that their recently launched initiative aimed at getting Barbadians to use fewer plastic bags “seems to be catching on, but we still have a situation where 200 pounds of plastic clogs our drains every day. When you think about the cost of removing it, that is money that can be used for other activities.”
The Green Fair, which will be held in Queens Park will showcase exhibits from businesses, NGOs and other stakeholders involved in the manufacture and distribution of environmentally friendly products. It will also feature panel discussions, debates, and film screenings on environmental topics. The Future Centre Trust will also be announcing the results of a number of competitions it is presently staging during the course of the event.
Ms Harding said, “We currently have three competitions taking place in the schools, namely a debating contest, a poster contest and an essay competition, and for the adults, we have an community innovation challenge with a $5,000 first prize, and a community art challenge with a $4,000 prize. The deadline for these contests has been extended to October 29.”
Organizers are hoping that The Green Fair will eventually become as prominent on the calendar as Agrofest.