Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 8th 2013 Contents A13
Thursday, August 8, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
I was making the point in Part 1 that national
well-being depends entirely on the wise use of
natural resources. To shift towards wisely using
our natural resources requires an interrogation
into the impacts of existing use and practice.
How is what we are presently doing under-
mining our well-being today and tomorrow?
We would need to draw up an inventory of our
major practices that affect the environment neg-
atively and correct those practices that are most
negative. We would have to fully quantify the
benefits and losses associated with existing
However, there is a massive challenge facing
us called "ourselves"---the way we are. In a sense
we are unconscious, oblivious really to the dam-
age we do casually to each other and our small
island lands. We have not converted the value
of having oil/gas as a key natural resource into
It in a sense remains the proverbial "resource
curse" as it is damaging to extract unless in the
strictest of regulatory and best practice regimes.
Our gas station economy has created excesses
in consumption, gross market inefficiencies, a
carefree mentality and a tendency to squander,
exaggerate and create folly as if it were the "nat-
ural order of things."
The Environmental Defence Movement needs
champions who have full access to the radio and TV
to roll out the revolution. This is cheap and easy to
do. These champions will share a narrative for a
"change to sustainability" or "sustainability first"
T&T is forced to accelerate the EDM as the oil/gas
resource has peaked. BP knows it. Recall when Robert
Riley rode out a few years ago into the sunset he
looked back at the end of the Gas Rush Movie and
said "the days of cheap gas are over." What is left is
by very far more valuable than what was already
extracted and exported as LNG or converted through
"heavy gas based industry" to primary products for
Our model is maximum extraction---as much as
possible as quickly as possible whenever possible.
There is not even the remotest of notions of "energy
security" in the repertoire of any energy minister ever.
Yet energy security is a key policy of all our developed
nation trading partners. We have no plan for tomorrow.
We have evolved the annual Carnival into a ritual of
release and bacchanal to help us forget how bad the
wicket really looks. Sobering to say the least!
But sobriety is scarce on our twin island homeland.
We are unfazed by our "rum till ah dead" culture
because alcohol is a billion dollar industry. This is
not a digression but part of the puzzle if we are to
solve the conundrum of our unsustainable selves and
why we have not yet, as a national community, prac-
tised being whole.
The revolution in consciousness could take ten
years to have impact and results. In its broadest sense
it must rest on the wisdom that all things are indi-
visible---all, whether it is physical, spiritual, psycho-
logical animate or inanimate. Everything is energy in
different forms. Consciousness itself is energy.
When we are wasteful and polluting it also con-
taminates our consciousness. We become jaded, care-
less, carefree, uncaring, insensitive and ultimately
We are struggling with crime corruption and pol-
lution. Our expectations of our leaders are very low.
We are sufficiently under-educated not to hold them
to higher account. They are in fact us, and I am told
that we, in a cynical sense, deserve the leaders we
choose. This is bitter medicine.
The good news is that all solutions to all problems
already exist whether it is waste management, pollution
control, protecting sensitive watersheds that provide
drinking water and energy conservation.
T&T likes to consider itself radical, chosen and
lucky. In Part 3, I will show that radical is what the
Environmental Defence Movement needs most.
Roll out revolution
Cathal Healy-Singh, an
environmental engineer with over
20 years of diverse experience, tells
us in part
two of this
be it waste
management, pollution control, to
protecting sensitive watersheds
that provide drinking water and
If you wish to contribute to this guest series, send
in your ideas to Ira Mathur at email@example.com
or firstname.lastname@example.org and join our
Facebook page at
Links Archive August 7th 2013 August 9th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page