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Let us be better stewards of our planet

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Last Friday, June 5, was World Environment Day, a day dedicated around the world to stimulate worldwide awareness of environmental issues and encourage political action.

This year’s theme: “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care,” draws attention to the fact that we share this planet with over seven billion other people who depend on it for sustenance.{{more}}

Not only do we share the planet with other humans, but we sometimes forget that the earth is also home to millions of other organisms. The fact is, we, as humans, continue to consume far more natural resources that the planet can sustainably provide. Man by his actions, threatens earth’s delicate ecosystems, bringing them near critical tipping points and pushing many species to extinction.

We, therefore, cannot continue to go merrily along, without caring how our actions may degrade the environment, affect other species or what state we will leave the planet in for future generations.

Although in comparison with many developed countries, the ‘carbon footprint’ left per capita by the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines is small, there is still a lot more that we can do to save the environment around our homes, which will have a positive impact on the environment around the world.

We need to take a closer look at our consumption patterns and make more conscious decisions about what we can do to make a difference.

On the individual level, we can reduce our individual ecological impact by taking action to reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill, the large quantities of food and water we waste and the toxic fumes our vehicles pump into the air. We need to ask ourselves: whether we replant a tree for every one we cut down; if there are alternatives to the toxic chemicals we release into the air, our land and waterways; and do we really need to purchase latest new gadgets like smart phones, just because manufacturers have released a new model?

On the national level, one of the things we can do is look again at our practice of each family wanting to live in a separate building, not joined to any other dwelling. Because of the topography of our country, we have a scarcity of flat land suitable for residential and commercial developments and for mechanised agriculture. Every time we clear land for housing projects, we reduce the acreage left for agriculture and force farmers further into the hills, threatening further our delicate watersheds. It is time for the Government to reconsider offering multi-family homes in future housing projects. We also need stricter enforcement of laws governing the release of waste water into our rivers and seas by hotel, agricultural and industrial enterprises.

So, with World Environment Day just gone, let us become more conscious of the impact we are having on the planet. Let us think about the environmental consequences of the choices we make. Let us become better stewards of our planet.

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