EDITORIAL: Charting way for greener economy
TWENTY YEARS AGO there was the Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where world leaders agreed on, but never fully implemented, what was supposed to have been a blueprint for a better tomorrow.
This week world leaders converge again on the same city for Rio +20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Some 50 000 people are expected to be there. We will be represented at this meeting by a delegation led by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
The issues facing mankind today are perhaps no different to those of 20 years ago, but it may be safe to say they are a lot more severe. So, it is important that, given the varied interest groups and positions to be defended at the Rio+ 20 talks, we in Barbados can point to an outcome that is both tangible and can quickly be implemented.
Seven areas of priority are to be dealt with at the talks: decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness.
It may be too much to expect us to effectively handle all seven issues in these challenging economic times, but try we must to chart a clear path forward.
The issues are all of critical importance to us. However, the Stuart-led administration has already indicated that the green economy will be our emphasis.
We support this focus and recognize that it is a bipartisan one given that the previous Owen Arthur-led administration had also indicated the need to emphasize the green economy.
This green economy must be translated into actions which the average Joe Citizen can understand and identify with on a daily basis. The island launched the Green Economy Scoping Study in March last year, and the findings were officially handed over to Mr Stuart in March this year. The findings must not be known and accessible to too few, but the relevance must be explained to all.
Fortunately, some businesses and individuals have already taken the opportunity to do things which will make a difference by adopting “greening” initiatives.
Perhaps the best example is the growing interest in solar and wind energy to generate electricity. We need to effectively use the sun and the wind to give us the renewable energy to power both our businesses and homes. We will achieve a number of innovative milestones in this effort: protecting our environment; and reducing our foreign exchange expenditure – while training and educating our people in new skills for new jobs.
Barbadians do not want just talk from Rio +20. It’s time for action, which means Government, the private sector, civil society and individuals working towards a common goal – a better Barbados. Indeed, this ought to be our blueprint for tomorrow.