Retired geologist, Leslie Barker, held the attention of those who headed to Harrison’s cave for the Environment Month walk. (Ministry of Tourism)

Environment Month this year, held under the theme: Living Sustainably …Respecting Our Heritage in Shaping A Green Economy, has been described "as a huge success!"

Among the highlights for the month was Barbados’ participation in the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil, represented by a delegation led by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

On that mission, Mr. Stuart forcefully put Barbados’ position for transitioning towards a green economy, especially as it relates to sustainable living.

The Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University in association with the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, hosted the Rio+20 Dialogues from June 16 to19, to allow businesses and members of civil society to have an opportunity to weigh in on discussions around the issue of sustainable development during the conference.

Environmental Officer in the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Donna King-Brathwaite, said the dialogues saw over 40 people linking up with the discussions in Rio, and the viewing of sessions with local representatives.

She noted that the events held during the action-packed month were well attended, with larger than usual turnouts.

"There was good coverage on a number of areas, especially those which reflected the theme," she said.

The month-long activities began with a near four-hour coastal walk from Bathsheba, St. Joseph, to Bath, St. John, on June 2; with another one held on June 16, from Turner’s Hall Woods to the Alleyne School in Belleplaine, St. Andrew.

Mrs. King-Brathwaite said there were over 200 people participating in the walks, which were led by Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr. Leo Brewster. During the walks, participants received information on the island’s coasts, aspects of Barbados’ heritage and learnt about the medicinal value of the flora seen along the trail.

However, it was the De Heart Uh Barbados 10th series of races held on June 16 that attracted over 400 entrants for the first time in its 10-year history.

The event, which took the form of a 10k Run and 5k walk, was designed to get the community involved in physical activity, and journeyed through communities such as Sturges and Bloomsbury, Chapman’s and Carrington Village, Vault Road and Welchman Hall, Bryan’s Road, Allen View, Highland, Lion Castle and Hopewell, before finishing at the Project House, all in St. Thomas.

Another highlight was a series of Community Perspective panel discussions held every Wednesday night during the month. Topics included, Building Environmentally Strong Communities, The Holetown Waterfront Improvement Project, Friends of Folkestone, and Friends of the Garrison Historic Area.

Mrs. King-Brathwaite explained that the aim of the discussions was to draw an intimate crowd at each venue to discuss ongoing issues or developments that were likely to affect those living in the community. "Those sessions were very interactive and saw a lot of discussion and information being related," she said.

The World Oceans Day celebrations held under the theme: Youth: The Next Wave for Change, was held on June 8 and were also heralded as one of the best ever, with students from two primary schools receiving tips on water safety.

This year’s Green Readings saw the launch of the environmental anthology, Green Readings: Barbados – The First Five Years [2008 to 2012], by ArtsEtc on June 9, at the Richard Haynes Board Walk in Hastings, Christ Church.

That publication presents a compilation of work offered by artistes over the last five years of the Green Readings. The second Green Reading was held on June 23, at the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve in Holetown, St. James.

The Environmental Education Officer said that other events, including the Grape Fruit and Molasses Foodies Farmers Market and Trail, the Plant Propagation Workshop and Plant Sale and workshops conducted throughout the month, were also successful.

"Overall, we managed to cover the theme for the month as we looked at activities to promote a green economy for Barbados," she said.

Mrs. King-Brathwaite disclosed that thought was already being given to next year’s Environment Month celebrations, with a view to retaining the sustainable living theme, and incorporating the role of the environment on people’s health. "This is a major area that we need to pay much attention to," she said.


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