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

“Trees Save Lives” – a maxim formulated by the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification – is intended to direct the way Barbadians live.

This was emphasised today as Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde, addressed the celebrations to mark National Arbor Day at the National Botanical Gardens, Codrington, St. Michael.

Minister Forde stressed that the theme for the day was also to be seen as a new way of life for Barbados in order for the country “to save the unborn child” as well as the current and next generation to come.

Stating that from a policy perspective it does not only signify the country’s commitment to the United Nations General Assembly’s call to have all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) achieved by 2030, he encouraged the audience to also recognise that life on land and commitment to the SDGs owed much to trees.

Minister Forde pointed out that trees had the ability to clean the air, to ensure clean water and conserve our bio-diversity, which is being threatened.  

Adding that there had been a decade loss not only of our ecosystems, but our diversity, he stressed: “I said before, prior to COVID, as we know it, the existential threat was global warming and climate change; we often talk about the ability for trees to sequester that harmful carbon dioxide; it is a known fact that Barbados produces about two million tons a year.

“If we plant the million trees that we intended to, over the next couple of years, that is 48 million tons of carbon dioxide. It may be a small amount based on the fact that the world produces about 50 billion tons a year or so, but little Barbados, as a leader in the small island developing states must be able to do its part. “

Minister Forde added that in Barbados’ Nationally Determined Contribution the aim, by 2030/2035, is for the country to reduce its carbon emissions, its foot print, its carbon dioxide levels and its greenhouse gases by about 93 to 95 per cent or so, resulting in less than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide being produced a year.

Elaborating on the country’s efforts, he stressed: “We know that we get some emissions in the industries and we are working with the photovoltaic drive in the Ministry of Energy. We know that we have some in the agricultural industry with the ruminants (three per cent or so of the carbon dioxide being produced).  We know there are some still being used again in the agricultural industry with the pesticides and we are always concerned about our persistent organic pollutants – those things will always be there, but we are going full steam ahead to reduce.

“And we know that the Ministry of Energy is doing a lot of activities in terms of removing the fossil fuel and the fossil fuel driven industry to have a more green energy or photovoltaic thrust. That is what we are doing collectively as a Government to say to the international community that by 2035, at most, we are going to reduce our emissions and our carbon dioxide and our greenhouse gas about 90 something per cent.”  

Arbor Day is observed annually on September 22. Today’s event saw eight stalwarts being recognised by the Ministry for their contributions to the Arbor Day celebrations since its inception 24 years ago.  

They include: Retired officer with the Ministry of Agriculture, Hamilton Blackman; IICA Representative in Barbados, Ena Harvey; Manager of Shalana’s Wines, Kenrick Boucher, and Dendrologist in the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification, Nigel Jones.

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