Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 12th 2013 Contents A19
Thursday, September 12, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
I was making the point in part one 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
undermining our well-being today and
We would need to draw up an inventory
of our major practices that affect the envi-
ronment negatively and correct those prac-
tices that are most negative. We would
have to fully quantify the benefits and
losses associated with existing resource
However, there is a massive challenge
facing us called "ourselves"---the way we
are. In a sense we are unconscious, oblivious really
to the damage 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 a blessing. In a sense
it remains the proverbial "resource curse" as it is
damaging to extract unless in the strictest of reg-
ulatory 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 natural 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-erst"
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 export. Our model is maximum
extraction---as much as possible as quickly as pos-
sible, whenever possible.
There is not even the remotest of notions of
energy security in the repertoire of any energy min-
ister 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 in 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,
practised being whole.
The revolution in consciousness could take ten
years to have an impact and results. In its broadest
sense it must rest on the wisdom that all things are
indivisible---all, whether it is physical, spiritual, psy-
chological, animate or inanimate. Everything is ener-
gy in different forms.
Consciousness itself is energy. When we are waste-
ful and polluting it also contaminates our con-
sciousness. We become jaded, careless, carefree,
uncaring, insensitive and ultimately corrupt.
We are struggling with crime, corruption and
pollution. 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, pol-
lution 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.
If you wish to contribute to this guest series,
send in your ideas to Ira Mathur at
firstname.lastname@example.org and join our
Facebook page at www.facebook
Cathal Healy-Singh, an environmental
engineer with more than 20 years of
diverse experience, tells us in part two
of this three-part guest column that
solutions to all problems already exist,
be it waste management, pollution
control, to protecting sensitive
watersheds that provide drinking
water and energy conservation.
revolution in consciousness
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