Wed | Oct 18, 2017

strive for green economy

Published:Monday | March 23, 2015 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
This one kilowatt stand-alone solar energy system was installed by students of the Renewable Energy and Efficiency Technology (REET) training programme, and is one of the many examples of movement towards a green economy.

Minister of Environment and Drainage in Barbados, Denis Lowe says no country should lose sight of the importance of preserving their environment, and those which fail to embrace the concept of the green economy run the risk of making life difficult for future generations.

"Even though we are one of the leading voices for the green economy and we have made great progress in the uptake on renewable energy to scale back on the use of fossil fuel, we are still working very hard in terms of behavioural change. It's not only the policy side, but people have to change their lifestyles," Lowe said recently.

Barbados is deemed to be the greenest country in Latin America and the Caribbean, and one of the first countries globally to complete its green economy scoping study.

"Right now, the major impact on our environment would be as a result of the emission of greenhouse gases, globally and locally. The climate change factor which is a direct relation to the use of fossil fuel was taking us on a trajectory where we would lose a significant amount of our coastal investments, our hotels would be at risk and of course we were at serious risk to disasters. We had no choice but to put the environment in the middle of our development strategy," Lowe told The Gleaner.

He made the comments following the 2015 Caribbean Green Economy Conference that was held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston recently.

"The transition is still ongoing. It will never be easy after you have been operating in a certain way economically. Certainly, the first leg of sensitisation, which was among cabinet ministers, initially, was not met with a lot of enthusiasm, but it had to be done," Lowe said.

"The greatest achievement is the completion of our green economy coping study. We are seeing the returns in terms of the national conversation, more businesses and more households are now talking green economy, but the major driver was the private sector coming on board with us," he said.

"It is a very difficult task in the region to get the private sector on board to do something like this. However we were very successful in assisting them to understand the importance of this shift and benefits to their businesses. I think if you go to Barbados and ask anyone what is a green economy they will be able to tell you from the youngest to the oldest, in addition to showing to something tangible," he said.

Lowe said Jamaica should continue the work they have started toward making the transition to a green economy.