Barbados’ citizens must live more responsibly in their use of alternative energy as the country moves closer to creating a green economy.
Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, has cautioned that if the country produced renewable energy, but still applied "the same wasteful practices to its utilisation, then we are still back at square one".
Noting that Barbados already had the inputs needed to pursue renewable energy – the sun, wind and other types of bio-related materials – the Minister said the challenge now was that of ??transforming the thinking of citizens.
"How do we convince our citizens that we would be able to be involved in the production of an energy mix where it is going to cost them less?" he pondered.
He explained the worry was in considering how citizens would respond in the transitioning to this new energy culture, not only at the utilisation level, but also at the responsibility level in terms of how they take on those new sensitivities.
"It is more about understanding your needs, understanding your supply, and being willing to take responsibility at the point-of-use stage of utilisation of that energy," Dr. Lowe pointed out.
He stressed that the task would be in getting citizens to live more responsibly at every level in and out of the home; at work and at play, whatever the circumstance.
The Minister said Government was prepared to put educational and operational programmes in place to assist citizens in becoming more responsible in using their energy sources.
"Our citizens, particularly at school age, as early as primary education, need to become more turned on to the sciences. We need to see more students becoming interested in renewable technologies.
"We cannot just be satisfied with using technology; we have to be more curious with creating the technologies ourselves, creating the template for sustaining that technology," Dr. Lowe said.
He added there were already programmes in schools where the Ministry gave small grants to assist in setting up courses, and efforts were being made to facilitate opportunities for new schools to come on board and participate in the new energy culture.
The University of the West Indies was also included in the educational efforts, and Dr. Lowe noted that the institution needed to look more closely at creating the kinds of "curricular penetration points" for students to pursue courses in alternative energy.
"We (the Ministry) are currently working with the University of the West Indies and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) in looking at the creation of a resource efficiency centre at the university," he said.