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“Living Sustainably…Our Island…One Planet”

My fellow Barbadians, as I greet you on World Environment Day, 2022, the world continues to face unimaginable threats to health, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; food security concerns – in the absence of peace in resource rich areas; and the continued negative impacts of land degradation, biodiversity loss, and the menacing impacts of climate change. In spite of these challenges, we continue to celebrate our environment and look to the future. 

Some of you may be aware that this year marks the 50th year of global environmentalism. Back in 1972, when the world faced unprecedented levels of pollution – a direct result of industrialisation – world leaders determined then, that human existence was under severe threat.

This acknowledgment led to the staging of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and the decision to establish the United Nations agency with responsibility for Environment – United Nations Environmental Programme. And, by 1974, we welcomed the first annual United Nations observance celebrating an awareness-building of the environment, known to us as World Environment Day.

The global theme for this year’s World Environment Day campaign is “Only One Earth”, which is a call to action by all of us, in an effort to protect, regenerate and restore our planet Earth. This theme recognizes that in the face of our environmental and human diversity, we all share this blue planet.

And herein lies the challenge of today and tomorrow.  Statistically, it is reported that the rate at which we are consuming our current resources, is equivalent to living on 1.5 planets.  In fact, we are told that humanity is using nature 1.8 times faster than our planet’s bio-capacity can regenerate.

That said, this scenario also beckons us to design and introduce new innovations; while harnessing the best applicable solutions founded on our heritage and cultural practices.

The global theme for this year’s World Environment Day campaign is “Only One Earth”, which is a call to action by all of us, in an effort to protect, regenerate and restore our planet Earth. This theme recognizes that in the face of our environmental and human diversity, we all share this blue planet.

Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde.

My friends, we Barbadians have traditionally been focused on the care and conservation of our environment.  I am sure that many of us can recall the days when our grandparents and parents took pride in the beauty of our surroundings and always “cleaned up” and swept all around the outside of our homes, planting flower gardens, fruit trees, and even the ingredients to make our world-famous Bajan seasoning.  Through my Ministry’s Clean and Green Campaign, we are seeking to restore this pride for our island’s environment, among our communities.

Again this year, we are extending our annual campaign beyond today, June 5th, as we shall also be celebrating World Ocean’s Day on June 8th. We will not only share information on environmental issues, but we wish to use these focused environmental days to showcase the efforts of our own people, and environmental stewardship for a sustainable Barbados under the theme: “Living Sustainably…Our Island…One Planet”.  Our Environment Week theme is a reminder that while we are a vulnerable small island developing state, we too have a role to play in environmental activism. 

In line with taking positive actions for our environment, permit me to highlight a few initiatives from this year’s calendar. 

I am sure you would be happy to know that through recent discussions on the Barbados Stockholm +50 process, our young people have been at the vanguard of taking action for the next 50 years.  In this vein, today, World Environment Day, there will be the launch of the inaugural Barbados Youth Climate Action Summit and Expo by the Ashley Lashley Foundation, in partnership with my Ministry, and a number of other partners. 

Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde. (GP)

On June 8th, World Oceans Day, the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) will lead a public outreach initiative, aimed at sharing environmental information with the public, about plastics pollution in the marine environment. They will also be collecting data around this issue, which will inform the development of the Barbados Clean Seas Campaign, to rally government, the private sector and individuals, in the fight against marine litter and pollution.

The Ministry will also be partnering with the United Nations Development Programme in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, to launch the hand-over and planting of Stockholm@50 legacy trees across the island at some of our schools.  These trees will be symbolic of the next 50 years of environmental activism for Barbados.

Finally, you will be happy to note the return of the ever-popular Coastal Hike, under the aegis of the Coastal Zone Management Unit of my Ministry, the details for which will be made public in due course.

I wish to take this opportunity to invite you to join us as we celebrate Environment Week, from June 5 to June 11. 

Please feel free to share your own activities and initiatives, which have an environmental or sustainable development focus with us at the Ministry of Environment.  

Plant a tree in an appropriate space; lead a beach clean-up on World Oceans Day; join family and friends at the hike along our beautiful coastline; write a poem or song paying homage to our island’s unique environmental heritage.  Do share your actions via a medium of your choice, and help us tell our own stories of environmental activism in Barbados!

Happy World Environment Day!!!

Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde

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