This is also defined by John Elkington’s Triple Bottom Line; profit, people and planet.
In the energy-based plantation we have ignored the externalities presented by the environment and globally we are one of the highest per-capita producers of carbon emissions—one of our prime ministers is on record as saying that we have chosen economic development to the disregard of the destruction of the environment.
The sustainability of our socio-economic development is not an objective or strategy; it is a policy or philosophical constraint on how we choose our objectives and strategies and hence our performance measures.
We may wish to consider Porter and Kramer’s shared value policy in which economic development has as its outputs products and services that are directly related to engendering positive feedback to the society to create more goods and services.
For example the development of the Grameen Bank not only makes money for its shareholders but provides an opportunity for others to build businesses that would never have been able to do so.
Cleaning up the mess implies that somehow we can remove the litter, fix what is broken and in so doing return to the pristine initial state.
However, no such state existed before and over time we have, socially and economically, exploited our natural resources, our environment, our human resources, each other, ably abetted/driven by foreign investment to create an environment in which our value systems, our requirements, remain basic. We still crave good water, health, electricity, transport and housing systems; we claim low unemployment but require good job opportunities that do not include URP and Cepep; our education system leaves much to be desired.
The mess has now facilitated the drug trade, crime, which is inexorably contributing to the further destruction of our social environment.
To many we live in a dilemma; we are a petroleum high-income nation (for the time being) with a GNI/capita of US$15,840 and are 64th in the world order; yet our value systems remain so low; so dependent on government action or inaction.
How are rip currents formed?
Rip currents form as waves disperse along the beach causing water to become trapped between the beach and a sandbar (sand from the shore which washes away and accumulates under the sea surface offshore) or other underwater feature.
When waves break over the sandbar in quick succession, water builds up rapidly and is blocked from returning seaward. The water becomes trapped between the sandbar and the shore until it is high enough to overtop, creating a channel through the sandbar.
The water then converges into this narrow channel moving away from the shore at high speeds, forming a rip current. A rip current consists of three parts: the feeder current flowing parallel to the shore inside the breakers; the neck, where the feeder currents converge and flow through the breakers in a narrow band or “rip” and the head, where the current widens and slackens outside the breaker line.
Jetties projecting out to the sea can also cause rip currents to occur because they divert the normal flow of current.
The Institute of Marine Affairs is a body madated to collect, analyse and disseminate information relating to economic, technological, environmental, social and legal developments in marine affairs in T&T.
At this time of year, the institute is urging the public to exercise safety on the beaches of Trinidad and Tobago.
From November to April the sea tends to be rough and bathers should take extra care when swimming during these months.
The safer months for sea bathing in Trinidad are generally between May and October. During this period, except for the occasional storm, the water tends to be calm.
Bathers should note, however, the red warning flags denoting danger areas on beaches patrolled by lifeguards.
Red/yellow flags indicate safer areas for bathing. If you are unsure of the meaning of the flags, ask the lifeguard on duty to explain their significance.
It is dangerous to swim or bathe close to fishing boats and fish landing sites, because there may be hidden dangers beneath the water such as engine blocks, sharp fish bones and anchors scattered on the sea floor.
This is the second in a series of five guest columns in Guardian Media’s Cleaning Up The Mess by Planning and Sustainable Development Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie, focusing on how we protect and conserve our ecosystem by adding economic value to the services they provide.
In essence, it must guide the overall policy direction at the macro level, but must also filter down into the substrata of policy making so that the main essence of sustainable development, that of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations, is considered.
This is, even with the best of intentions, more easily said than done. Oftentimes policy at lower levels is so focused on its target sector or subsector that the bigger picture is often overlooked.
The existing set of policies of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, as articulated in its Medium Term Policy Framework 2011-2014 and Working for Sustainable Development in Trinidad and Tobago, among other documents, is guided by the fundamental concept of sustainable development.
This is the first in a series of five guest columns in Guardian Media Cleaning Up The Mess by Planning and Sustainable Development Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie on the challenges of balancing social economic and environmental objectives.
In recent times in T&T, the words sustainable development, sustainable jobs and sustainable cities have become familiar words. But, what is sustainable development? Twenty-five years ago the Brundtland Report (1987) defined sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable development suggests that the needs of future generations will depend on how well we balance social, economic and environmental objectives. Creating the balance, therefore of these three important aspects of development is the challenge being faced by countries globally. This is at the heart of the sustainable development challenge.
This week guest columnist in Guardian Media Cleaning Up The Mess series, Anke Kessler, a political scientist from Germany, who worked at the Goethe Institute in Chile for 13 years, gives a visitor’s perspective on recycling in T&T.
At least that’s the impression I got. Now, we all know that oil and gas won’t last forever but tourism could if we just keep the islands clean and green and safe, of course, but that means a major change in social politics. So what can each of us do at no cost, and even better save money?
Imitate the many countries that have already done it: Ride your bike or walk whenever you can; reduce, reuse, recycle; buy less stuff or buy it used. Also, grow your own veggies or at least give preference to local produce; get garage sales going in your neighbourhood.
The T&T Guardian concludes a four-part series on local plastic recycling, by Gerard Charles, marketing manager of Resin Converters Ltd, who in a country that has had no environmental legislation for over two decades, and a promised recycling bill that is yet to materialise two years on, suggests a way forward.
At the same time, we have failed to educate our population on the integral role that they all can play in arriving at a solution that would address the need to dispose properly of plastic material after we have no further use for it. The combination of plastic grades and applications in common use today has resulted in a multiplicity of plastic types that are not always chemically or physically compatible.
T&T is among the most polluted small island states in the world. We dump more than 50 million plastic bottles in our dumps and one million glass bottles every month. Plastic, when exposed to heat, creates among the deadliest toxins known to man. This is what the people of T&T are breathing every day. When these bottles are exposed to heat, they produce among the most toxic substances that exist.
Doctors suspect it is related to the rising rates of cancer. We do not recycle e-waste—computers when damaged or dismantled produce hazardous toxins. A tiny island state like Barbados recycles over 70 per cent of its waste while we recycle next to nothing.
Two of our dumps are overflowing and need to be shut down as they are polluting our water table and contributing to serious illnesses. We have one of the longest most unregulated hunting seasons in the world.
This week guest columnist Gerard Charles, marketing manager of Resin Converters Limited, tells us that thus far, no responsible authority has taken the time and resources to educate the public on recycling.
It is therefore not surprising that it has been so successful as a manufacturing material despite the fact that it has been commercially available for a relatively short period of time when compared to metals.
As a matter of fact, the invention and application of plastics worldwide as a food packaging material has contributed significantly to the rapid growth and evolution of the food and beverage industry, two huge and important contributors to global GDP and development.
Plastic packaging and its rapidly evolving technologies have now made it possible for us to safely store and transport raw and prepared foods over great distances in a variety of packaging alternatives that make it possible for consumers to enjoy a fresh and tasty food product that has superior shelf life, better and more attractive presentation with improved sanitation at a lower price than ever before.