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Solar energy works for Barbados

This week, Cory Marcon, a renewable energy consultant reminds us that T&T continues to lag behind much smaller islands in the Caribbean, such as Barbados, in terms of environmental awareness and action. This week he tells us how Barbadians are about to pass legislation which will allow the country to move towards solar energy in an economically viable manner. 


T&T behind curve with clean energy

This week in this guest series, Cory Marcon, a renewable energy consultant, tells us that despite the fact that much of the Caribbean is on board with clean energy technologies, T&T is ‘behind the curve and not following suit.’



Absence of environmental values

This week in the Cleaning up the Mess, series guest columnist Cathal Healy-Singh, an environmental engineer, makes a case for enforcing social and environmental values enshrined in T&T’s Constitution.



Communities can save forests

This week’s guest contributor to this environmental series is Kemba Nefertiti Jaramogi, who has represented this country as a youth ambassador in Mauritius for the United Nations Small Island and Developing States Meeting, where she met with world leaders such as Kofi Annan. In 2010 she set off for Ghana, where she worked with environmental and social enterprise NGOs in Accra and the Cape Coast. She has a BA in international development, Third World Studies with NGO Management, from the University of East London.



Growing food the clean way

This week in our ongoing series, Christopher Marshall, a member of the Aquaponic Gardening Community, tells us how aquaponics can help clean out effluents that accumulate in the water.



The Croppers’ legacy lives on

One year after Angela Cropper’s passing, the foundation she created continues her work in making national and regional development more environmentally friendly and economically fair. This guest column presented by the Cropper Foundation provides insight to Angela’s “road map,”  which will guide her foundation’s work well into the next decade.


Citizens must work together for change

Starting this week in this Cleaning Up the Mess environmental series is a two-part series by Vicki Assevero, a lawyer committed to sustainable development through multi-stakeholder negotiations and co-founder of the Green Market in Santa Cruz.




School garden without pesticides

This week focuses on how this UN Development Programme is sensitising schoolchildren about how harmful chemical and pesticides can be, particularly in developing countries such as ours. 


Kelum, one of the pupils, is eager to explain that the plants in his boxes grow without chemical fertilisers, just with the nutrients in the soil and water from the tilapia fish tank that stands in the corner of the schoolyard and he even does not have to spray them “once you take out the weeds and insects that eat my plants nothing will happen to them.”

The (mis-) use of synthetically produced fertilisers and pesticides is of such significant impact globally that the GEF SGP UNDP has declared it (together with other toxic chemicals) as one of its six focal areas. 

In T&T we see the effects on our near shore reefs in Tobago, where once colourful corals are now overgrown by algae that have taken advantage of the nutrient-rich water.

Saving Caura Valley

The constant knot of traffic on the Eastern Main Road eases as the road gradually wends its way uphill into the Caura Valley. 

The atmosphere becomes cooler and the scenery greener with tall trees arching overhead. To the casual observer and weekend visitor the setting is idyllic. 

But probe deeper, stay a while longer and other realities become evident. For the six villages that make up the valley’s community, infrastructure is woefully inadequate and unemployment high. Valley sides once lush forest, are now mosaics of grassy tufts, sporadic trees and patchy vegetation at various stages of regrowth; tell-tale signs of hillsides once ravished by forest fires.

Fire Guardians protecting forest ecosystem


This week, the focus is on helping civil society groups make a difference to their environment. 

When we first met Sue-Yen Carrera she was facilitating a meeting with the Caura Valley Fire Guardians at the Caura Valley Village Council (CVVC) community hall. The lone female in the circle, she had the full attention of the males ranging from 19 to 65 years of age.  

A primary school teacher and public relations officer of the CVVC, Carrera also wears the hat of project manager for the village council’s Fire Guardians project. 

Funded by the GEF Small Grant Programme and managed in conjunction with the Forestry Division of T&T, the project aims to protect the forest ecosystem from forest fires and support livelihoods through a ‘payment for ecosystem services (PES)’ approach to fire prevention.