Our visit to the Resource efficient TERI retreat for environment awareness and training, New Delhi, India

Written by Marianne on . Posted in General Information, India, News & Updates, Publications

In the framework of the Education for Sustainability project, Nektarina Non Profit and its Indian partner Zest Youth Movement attended the 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit that took place in New Delhi, India in February 2015.

In the margins of this major conference we learnt that The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI, also organizer of DSDS) had established a sustainable campus on the outskirts of Delhi, as a best example for people of how natural resources should efficiently be used.

Thus we took the opportunity of our presence in Delhi and the possibility offered by TERI to visit the RETREAT (Resource efficient TERI retreat for environment awareness and training).

“ Renewable energy is seen as an effective option for ensuring access to modern energy services in our vast country. Local and regional environmental problems associated with the generation of conventional energy have provided a strong argument for enhancing the role of renewable energy within the broad energy development plans of the country.

With this in mind TERI developed this complex at Gual Pahari, Gurgaon, as an example of sustainable habitat.

The Gual Pahari campus is situated 35 km south of Delhi, at Gurgaon, Haryana, covering an area of 36.5 hectares of beautifully landscaped surroundings. When TERI bought the land, it was totally rocky and devoid of any vegetation. Intense plantation activities were undertaken by scientists and researchers for improving the fertility of the land and today it is covered with lush green forests and gardens full of beautiful flowers. Amidst this greenery and beauty lies the RETREAT, a model of sustainable habitat.”

After driving almost an hour from the center of Delhi, we entered the campus at the gate and left our car there. Vehicles are indeed strictly forbidden to enter the campus. We continued our journey with a battery run vehicle. Only those vehicles are allowed, to avoid pollution, keep air clean and keep human beings healthier and provide more oxygen. Actually, at many places in India, the government has asked to use battery run vehicles like on the world famous Taj Mahal site. The acid rains induced because of air pollution have already affected the monument. Even in many universities and companies campus, battery run vehicles or other wise vehicles are used, like at the University of Pune for example. Actually this is very good option that should mandatorily be used in all industrial, educational, historical places.

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A representative of TERI welcomed us at the main office building and then brought us through the campus and show us the main departments and projects developed there.

The campus was inaugurated in 2000 by the former Prime Minister of India, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It is mainly known as the Teri Green Campus.

First went to the Micro propagation technology park and saw how the team develops and produces microbe-free plants of various species. Millions of plants are thus supplied to the industries and farmers.

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Then we went to see the TEAM process installation witch permits generation of biogas and manure from biogas generation from various sources of organic waste.

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The rainwater purification basin is established as an integral part of the campus. Rainwater is stored in one tank where mud and other material settled at the bottom of the tank, coupled with oxygen, kills unwanted small microorganisms. The water is then used for the campus’ irrigation needs.

The main building complex is build in a way to benefit the most from natural resources and to operate in the most autonomous and sustainable way.

“This climate-responsive building is intended to serve as a model sustainable habitat, based on new and clean technologies.”

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No electricity from outside is used. The building was constructed in a way to naturally keep the temperature temperate in all seasons thanks to a smart use of sunrays orientations and tree planting which gives more shadow in summer and allows the sun to enter the rooms once their lost their leaves in winter.

Also, to maintain the temperature in the rooms an underground tunnel has been build. The tunnel out let is open at one end. The air then goes through a motor that ventilates it and push it towards the different levels and rooms of the building among a chimney mechanism. There are two out lets in each room. The other one exhausts out the hot/cold air to that the temperature is maintained.

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“The temperature in the living area is maintained at a comfortable 20° C to 30° C throughout the year, without the use of an air conditioner. The concept is based on the observation that underground cellars are naturally cooler in summers and warmer in winters. In ancient and medieval India, a similar concept was applied in the construction of buildings such as that seen in the Red Fort at Delhi. To circulate the air in the living area, each room has been fitted with a ‘solar chimney’ and the warm air rises and escapes through this chimney creating an air current. Cool air from the underground tunnels, helped by two blowers fitted in the tunnels, rush in to replace the warm air. In winter, the cold air in the rooms is replaced by warm air from the tunnels.”

On the top of the buildings solar power plants are fixed and provide all necessary energy (light, hot water, etc.). The inner parts are constructed in such way that there is more air ventilation and circulation.

“The RETREAT takes full advantage of the abundant solar energy and has used innovative ways to tap this energy by installing 24 solar water heaters to provide 2000 liters of hot water to the living quarters. Photovoltaic panels help capture solar energy and store it in a bank of batteries, which is the main source of power at night. Individual panels, power lights outside the building. Even the water pump is powered by solar panels.”

The building is used as a research and learning center, has accommodation and catering capacities and is used as a venue for hosting groups and conferences.

Afterwards we visited the biomass gasifier based power generation site. All food waste and other waste material are used to produce energy through a process of decomposition with help of water. Gas comes out of it and is used for cooking and other purposes. The gas is supplied through pipes to different parts where needed.

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“During the day, the building is powered by a biomass gasifier, which is fed by firewood, twigs, branches, and crop stubble from the campus itself. In conventional devices that burn firewood directly, a large part of the energy is lost. In a biomass gasifier this wood is burnt twice as efficiently. Any surplus energy that is generated is used to recharge the battery bank. This battery bank is thus served by two sources of power, namely the photovoltaic panels and the gasifier.” 

We saw then the wasted water management system where all the wasted water from the campus is collected and organically treated. Around lakhs of liters the water is then used to tree plantation watering all over the campus.

“At this complex, a novel method to recycle waste water for irrigation has been introduced. Sewage is collected in a settling tank and the sludge settles at the bottom and a part of the waste is decomposed at this stage by microbes. Next, the water passes through a bed of soil that also has some reeds, that adapt well to water logged conditions. The roots of these plants act as a filter, removing and absorbing many of the toxic substances from the waste water. The water that comes out at this stage is of irrigation quality or even for bathing purposes.”

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What a great breathe of fresh air visiting this campus after several days spent in the highly polluted city of Delhi!

Such initiatives offer a great overview on the different options that organizations could use to contribute in a more sustainable way of life in India. Practically, it is still very challenging to spread those approaches towards the whole society, but we deeply believe that thanks to those projects and best practices, and through a quality education on sustainable development from the youngest age, future generations would progressively adopt and generalize those methods. Such training institutes should be set up all across India so to allow the sharing of knowledge all across the country.

 

Source of the quotations

TERI’s website

Deliberating on Sustainability

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, Books & Magazine, E-Magazine, General Information, Green Economy, India, News, News & Updates, Publications, Take Action

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A poster at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit

The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit is held every year around a theme that is identified as the most pressing issue of the current times. The themes at DSDS have ranged from protecting the global commons to global challenge of resource efficient growth and development.

Currently energy crisis, water and food crisis are emerging problems. To create a robust green economy these three interlinked and interdependent resources should be secured.  “Sustainable Development Goals and dealing with climate change” was identified as the theme for the 15th edition of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, held from 5-7 February, 2015 in New Delhi, India.

From Lima to Paris while stopping by in India these gatherings that bring together important personalities and decision makers provide a platform for people to come together and talk about issues that have become a huge concern of this century. It is just a matter of time whether these talks will be materialized into actions, productive actions that will put a full stop on the abuse of earth’s resources.

This year’s Summit at Delhi discussed these specific issues, striving to find ways forward towards a sustainable future.  Mr. Kofi Annan (Nobel Laureate and Former Secretary-General, United Nations) gave an inaugural keynote address in 2014 stating that just like the developed world the developing countries cannot continue to exploit the resources of the world as lack of access to energy, water and food withholds the growth of the developing world.

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Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger with other prominent speakers at DSDS

Several eminent world leaders participated in the event including speakers from diverse sectors like the famous action hero and former Governor of California Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In terms of Gujarat’s clean energy actions he termed Gujarat as “the California of India”. He said:

“Climate change is not science fiction and it is impacting us right now. This is bigger than a movie and this is the biggest challenge of our times.”

“Mr. Modi has shown that small actions and sub-national governments have tremendous power. They don’t have to wait for national governments to create action,” he said adding that Mr. Modi would prove the naysayers in the world wrong. Mr. Schwarzenegger said, “We must think differently if we are going to win the battle [against climate change] and change the world.” He added.

Despite managing to gather eminent personalities in the global south, the DSDS did not get enough media attention like the other big conferences on similar issues. This does raise a question here. Is the developing world considered less important when it comes to tackling grave problems knowing it is being affected the most?

Recently the environment minister of India said that clean energy will form a main part of India’s national climate strategy yet Prakash Javedekar added that India would resist any outside scrutiny with reference to the European calls for transparency.

“There is no question of an ex-ante review in an independent country and democratic country like India,” Javedekar said.

On speaking about the road to a UN summit in Paris this December, where world leaders hope to come up with a global climate deal, Mr.Prakash Javedekar said that since the last half century the carbon emissions have increased with each passing day and now the developing world is asking the developed world will it vacate the carbon space?

By the end of March the developed countries are expected to reveal their draft contributions towards the international effort to limit carbon emissions. India is among a number of developing countries that promises to publish its climate plan.Susheel Kumar, a top official and climate negotiator, said that the government is striving for a transparent and comprehensive national climate strategy that will be based on consultation with civil society in India . He added “There is no room for international intervention.”

The grave problem of climate justice that affects the entire world population should be about coming up with a strategy that is inclusive and is not discriminatory. Here we have to put aside the hierarchy of the developed and developing world as we all are together in this.  Green growth talks about the earthlings. It has been recognized to have the potential to develop a resilient, sustainable and inclusive pattern of growth across countries.

This is the message we need to take back with us from these high profile conferences and not a rift that highlights the polar extremes as a hindrance to achieve the stated goal.

Muslims vs Free Speech

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, E-Magazine, General Information, News, Publications, Regions, Take Action

The recent attack on the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo by gunmen who are understood to be Muslim extremists did remind me of the publication of cartoons in a Danish newspaper years ago. Violent protests erupted over a series of cartoons which satirized Prophet Mohammad in Denmark. Moreover I was reminded of the murder of Theo Van Gogh who directed a provocative film that talked about women in Islam.

Not to forget in Pakistan we are having a YouTube ban after the release of a film, Innocence of Muslims. The ban is in place since September 2012 and apparently the chances of it being lifted are slim.

I hold the right to freedom of expression very dear and this debate that has been going on for years regarding Muslims versus free speech has always fascinated me. I am somehow shocked to know that people are being killed in the struggle to protect freedom of speech. People are murdered for what? Cartoons!

No wonder I still prefer Captain Planet, a cartoon series in my childhood that talked about saving the planet. A message that did create awareness and let’s not forget didn’t harm anyone.

In an open democratic society freedom of speech is the bedrock but in my opinion it should not include the right to offend. Today we live in a pluralistic society where we face many grave problems already, be it politicization of religion, terrorism and marginalization to name a few. Yes we do live in a multi-cultural society and have diversity hence we need greater limits on free speech. Freedom of speech does not mean the right to offend the sensibilities of others for the sake of enjoying greater power.

When free speech is used merely as a provocation that does not support dialogue or debate as it should then it definitely raises few questions. Is it about opening up a debate or attacking a minority community?

Today the clash between freedom of speech and Muslim sensibilities is becoming a major fault line. In this polemic it is important to note that there is a thin line between freedom to do anything and being offensive and if the equilibrium is maintained we need not to worry. I support freedom of speech but I do not support hate of any kind. In a democracy we already have censorship laws like the libel law and the blasphemy laws (exploited a great deal in many countries like Pakistan). We can’t just say whatever we want to. There are restrictions imposed by the law. Similarly with the freedom of speech which is our fundamental right there comes a responsibility. As civilized, sensible, sensitive and polite human beings, which we rarely are these days, we need to know what to say on a given day in a given format. Freedom of speech is not a western concept; it is a craving of the human soul.

As Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, the British civil liberties advocacy organization rightly said on the issue of Muslims vs Free Speech :

“It is important to make a distinction between your legal right in a free society of free speech not unfettered because we don’t want child pornography and incitement to murder so there is always necessary and proportionate limitations on free speech but let’s separate your legal right that I would defend to the death actually from whether as a moral and ethical human being you on a given day in a given format to say this or that. That is really really important. You have a right of free speech but it not your duty to say the most offensive things possible and I must say that free speech is under attack but not for Muslims or Christians or just people of faith but from big brother politicians. It is a bit of a shame that we are talking that it is just about Muslims because it is not. I defend free speech and other liberal value, freedom of expression is incredibly important so why don’t we lead by example if we want to say to the Muslims, as I do in solidarity and friendship, don’t be overly offended by profane cartoons. While stick and stones may break your bones but not cartoons. If we want to say that then why should we be offended by women who choose to wear a headscarf or a hoody or anything else. Everybody is entitled to their human rights but sometimes in a democracy it is minorities who need human rights protection the most.”

This is not a battle between Muslims and the West. This is a battle of messages and counter messages. If some groups promote hate, death, intolerance and destruction- we call for life, pluralism, alliance of civilizations, compassion and peace.

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“You Have Not come here to just enjoy Lima”

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, Cameroon, General Information, Ghana, Green Economy, India, News, News & Updates, Publications, Regions, Sierra Leone, Take Action, Trinidad and Tobago

1017932Manuel Pulgar Vidal , President of COP20 addressing the audience in Lima

Photo Source: Google

“This is the time to take decisions…we want to give a clear and strong message that we want to take this process forward…you have not come here to just enjoy Lima…we must not accept to leave Lima with empty hands ” Manuel Pulgar Vidal said in a passionate appeal to the negotiators on the second last day of COP 20.

Vidal who was acting as the President of the conference or COP 20 (Conference of Parties) shared the disappointed of many that no progress was made on the negotiating text. With just one more day to go till the end of the conference and negotiations it was indeed saddening to see another deadlock looming on the horizon.

When we talk about global climate agreement one question that pops out is; with the global political crisis, where most countries are at war with each other both physically and otherwise, will they ever be able to negotiate in terms of climate justice?  I have been asking this question a lot and have never come across a sane explanation. In an extremely unjust world ruled by people who value profit is it even possible to talk about climate justice? Are we just fooling ourselves trying to make a difference by attending these important meetings visited by the many heads of states who are good at posing for photographs with the delegates but not drafting sound agreements?

Climate talks have remained deadlocked be it Brazil or Lima. Defeated in Brazil we thought we have a battle to fight in Lima where we may win and now we are looking forward to Paris in 2015. Is it just about wasting another year? When it comes to climate can we really afford to waste these many years? What are we waiting for?

These glorious opportunities that bring so many countries together should be made use of properly without wasting too much time, money and energy. There was an Ad-hoc Working Group on Durban Platform (ADP) at the COP 20 that was supposed to decide how various countries will contribute in the fight against climate change. The contributions that will be determined nationally are called Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs). The INDCs will form the backbone of the global climate agreement that is expected to be finalized at the next climate conference in Paris in 2015.

Unfortunately there are disagreements existing on several issues related to INDCs. Regarding the actions that have to be taken by developed countries in reducing greenhouse gas emissions before 2020 there isn’t a clear understanding. By using the jargons many countries try to get away without presenting a clear action plan. The mitigation/adaptation debate over the INDCs and whether these contributions should be put to an international review had been slow.

The frustrating slow pace of the Lima negotiations does disappoint many around the globe including the developing world that is mostly on the receiving end. Developing world is most affected by the decisions made by the developed world that even ship its waste to the global South. Also some countries in the developing world  clearly have other priorities.

According to Al Jazeera “China has said emissions will peak by 2030, while India chose to put economic growth ahead of emissions caps.”

How many more conferences and drafts do we need to understand and acknowledge the unforeseen adversity in the years to come?

AlJazeera reported :

 “ In Peru, the venue for this year’s crucial climate change conference, illegal logging continues at unprecedented rates.”

 “The capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, is a city under threat as it is sinking at a rate of seven centimetres every year. By 2030, according to experts, half of the city will be below sea level. Step Vassen reports from the Indonesian capital.”

 “In South Sudan, many people are chopping down trees just to exist. The country’s oilfields generate billions of dollars a year, but all the oil is exported, leaving millions of people to rely on wood and charcoal for fuel. The current rate of deforestation will mean no forest will be left in South Sudan within three or four decades.”

And the list goes on. The empty slogans made by the politicians demanding actions against climate change in not enough. Someone rightly said that with great power comes great responsibility. Here I would like to make an urgent appeal to the world leaders/politicians to take up this responsibility without wasting more time.

Is The Nobel Peace Prize Gamed?

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, Books & Magazine, E-Magazine, General Information, Green Economy, India, News, News & Updates, Publications, Regions, Take Action

The manufacturer of armaments and an inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel once said:

“I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results.”

In a non-harmonious world the word peace has a central focus these days. It is often used and abused but most importantly it lacks an agreeable definition.  To me it is often unreal and utopian. Interestingly in the field of peace research there are terms like negative peace and positive peace, carrying a normative value of striving towards peace. Who would better understand the complexities that revolve around the word “peace” than the Norwegian Peace Prize Committee considering the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway has dedicated years researching on peace.  I don’t want to sound cynical as I do believe that another world is possible. But for that to happen we need to be aware of the realities that are often deliberately hidden from our sight.

The ways in which things work in this world are strange. It is true that many die in anonymity no matter how big their contribution or how many years they have dedicated to serve humanity. I don’t want to propose my own list of the worthy opponents nor have anything against the individuals who won this year’s prize. The India- Pakistan duo does sound lovely and reflect the ethnocentrism of the Western world.

In 1990s the chairman of Norwegian Nobel Committee Francis Sejersted once acknowledged,

“The prize … is not only for past achievement. … The committee also takes the possible positive effects of its choices into account [because] … Nobel wanted the prize to have political effects. Awarding a peace prize is, to put it bluntly, a political act.”

 As the high profile award ceremony takes place in one corner of the world many experiencing conflicts on daily basis are unaware what this peace prize is all about. How about asking a Syrian, a Palestinian, a Liberian, an Iraqi, an Afghan …. for a definition of peace? In 2009 this prestigious award was bestowed on Barack Obama. Was it for ramping up the drone program?  In 2012 European Union was given the award right after it bombed Libya. Is the prize just about Norway’s geopolitical tilt?

The makers of the war can’t fool people by bringing temporary peace.

In Pakistan Malala Yousafzai recently being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize stirred many debates and discussions in the media. I am proud of Malala and her stance on education for young girls but what I question is the credibility of the Nobel Committee. Just to put on record there are many girls in Pakistan voicing similar concerns not yet picked by the West to propagate white savior complex.  Malala is the voice of Pakistan but being a 17 years old girl she might still be unaware of the manipulation that comes with her situation.

The Nobel Committee based in one small West European nation, comprising of members of political establishment is not capable of assessing who has done the most for peace in the world. The decision made by such a committee is prone to some kind of ideological bias or ethnocentricity.

Managing to hyphenate India and Pakistan yet again by awarding the prize jointly to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai does sound and looks good yet to be taken with a grain of salt. No matter the pattern of funds or relationships with evangelical organizations Malala Yousafzai’s contemporary has dedicated many years of his life for a cause. This does make me say that Abdul Sattar Edhi might have been a choice for the committee too considering his work and service.

What would be the impact of this Nobel in Pakistan? The Taliban has promised more violence and we can assume they will carry out more attacks on women and schoolchildren which surely would boil the blood in the West. That might also lead to more Malalas suffering at the hands of the Talibans, who might not be given a safe haven abroad to continue to voice their concerns.

In the past we have seen how the hands of hardliners are strengthened be it Myanmar, Iran and China. The peace prize awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi, Shirin Ebadi and Dalai Lama brought no assistance to the awardees or the cause they stood for. 2000 Tibetans were executed, several imprisoned by the Chinese between November 1989 and April 1990. It was right after the Dalai Lama was awarded the prize in October 1989.

It is time to move away from the dangerous prize. The Nobel Peace Prize does not guarantee change in the world but celebrates and reaffirms liberal ideal for which it should be recognized. But the increasingly frequent cases in which the award is bestowed seeking democratic political change, the winners should beware.

Trinidad and Tobago

Written by Claudia Caponi on . Posted in General Information, Publications, Trinidad and Tobago

Following an introduction to Trinidad and Tobago, its history, present and close  future.

These twin islands, Trinidad and Tobago, are located off the northern edge of South America, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles.

Due to its strategic and privileged position in the middle of the Caribbean, it has always been the port of entry to Latin America, either from the point of arrival of the conquerors or the commercial standpoint.

Trinidad’s name refers to the Holy Trinity, the name given to the island by Christopher Columbus when he discovered it on his third voyage of exploration to the “Indies”.

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It is said that when the Spaniards saw the small neighbouring island of Trinidad, which had an elongated shape, reminded them to the shape of a cigar (Tobaco), and hence comes the name of Tobago. It can also come from the fact that the island’s Dutch and Courlanders planted not only cotton but also tobacco.

Christopher Columbus arrived in Trinidad in 1498 and from that moment the island becomes a Spanish colony until the British invasion of 18 warships happened in 1797, forcing the Spanish governor to capitulate in favor of the English.

During this period, the neighbor Tobago changed hands in several occasions: Spain, England, France, Holland and the Courlander colonizers, whose colonization of the Americas was held by the Duke of Courland, it was the second smallest nation (today Latvia) to colonize the Americas, after the Knights of Malta. Their colony on the island of Tobago extends from 1654-1659, and intermittently from 1660-1689.

Trinidad and Tobago finally unite as one country in 1889, being a British colony from 1802 to 1962 and gaining independence in 1976 becoming a Republic.

During the French Revolution the French landowners and their slaves and free colored people of the neighboring islands migrated to Trinidad where they established an economy based on agriculture, mainly sugar and cocoa, and tobacco at some points.

The population of Trinidad suffered at this time a very rapid growth: from 1,400 people in 1777 to 15,000 in 1789.  By 1797 the population of Port of Spain had increased from less than 3000 to 10422 people in just five years, and it was made up people of different races: Spaniards, Africans, French republican soldiers, retired pirates and French nobility.

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Petroleum was discovered on the island in 1857, this fact together with the decline of cocoa in the market because of the Great Depression, converted oil and its derivatives in the main base for the country’s economy as well as to make it one of the richest countries in the Caribbean.

The largest cities and most densely populated are in Trinidad, Tobago still remains an island apart whose economy is mainly based on tourism.  Its tropical climate, fertile soil and rich vegetation make it an island of very pleasant weather. Unlike other Caribbean islands,

Trinidad and Tobago have managed to escape the hurricanes that have hit the area, this is because they are located in a geographical point that escapes for a few miles the routes that usually follow hurricanes and storms. But vulnerability is palpable when we consider the consequences that triggers climate change: tropical storms, earthquakes, floods, droughts and rising sea levels could cause very serious problems in the islands.

Because of this vulnerability, known by the government, the country strives to increasingly apply measures to help ensure their survival in a possible radical climate change, one of the key bodies governing this development is controlled by SIDS (Small Island Developing State), which Trinidad and Tobago belong.

In the latest report from the government to the SIDS Conference 2014, participants expressed concern about the lack of awareness that young people had about climate change and its consequences; also emphasized the need to develop synergies for good waste management, which the country has not yet implemented.

One factor of concern to the government and the economy driving change is the fact that in August 2007 was predicted that oil reserves would last only until 2018.

Although presented as a disadvantage in the short term for the national economy, it must be looked on the positive side as it will be the catalyst for not only create awareness among the population and businesses, but also a boost to move the economy to more sustainable and renewable basis.

Among the major environmental problems still present in Trinidad and Tobago are: the improper disposal of waste, deforestation, overfishing, marine pollution and its great gas emissions per person: although the country accounts for less than 1% of absolute Global Greenhouse Emissions gas, it is the second largest producer of carbon dioxide  emission on a per capita basis in the world.

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One of the commitments that the government currently has with the various international treaties, is to implement the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by developing the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative fuel.

There is also a green fund that provides financial support to groups and organizations that carry out activities related to reforestation, environmental education and public awareness of the problems of environment and conservation.

The current president, Anthony Carmona is searching the best tools in place to develop the country towards sustainability, the National Climate Change Policy is an example of a recent policy that speaks to climate change adaptation as an issue of environmental sustainability.

One of their top priorities is to resolve the fact that hunger, malnutrition and lack of food security works against sustainable development, this is one of the reasons why the nutrition for children in public schools is guaranteed by the government.

Regarding their educational system, in Trinidad and Tobago children start mandatory school at age 5, primary school comprises seven years and secondary five years, education is free for all; as well as tertiary education which is financed via GATE (Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses).  Even some master programs and scholarships are subsidized and are given to gifted or needy students. In the country, 89% of all Pupils complete primary school.

The country has placed a priority on education with support measures including free transportation, book grants and free meals through a School Nutrition Program.

One of the major challenges that the country is faced with changing economic base is not having skilled labour for a new economy, which could result in lower production levels.  It is therefore necessary to obtain a greater percentage of students continuing with their professional studies, this could be possible sowing the necessary awareness among the population and favouring the possibility of studying for the general population.  Also creating awareness about the new needs of the country, the new ways to develop towards sustainability in order to create a new labour capable of working in more sustainable ways.

We can conclude this article by saying that in Trinidad and Tobago the government is well aware of the environmental situation and it shows by its international interventions that they are doing their part to remedy the damage already done and promote sustainable development in the country.  It is a high priority also to create awareness among the population, especially the younger ones, so that everyone can participate not only on the change of economy, but to bring the country to a self-sustaining, respectful towards nature terrain. It is critical that the first learning of this occur in schools, this would create an excellent basis for educating future citizens.

  BIBLIOGRAPHY: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinidad_and_Tobago
  • Trinidad & Tobago: National Report for the 2014 SIDS Conference. Available from:
http://www.sids2014.org/index.php?page=view&type=6&nr=251&menu=1501 PHOTOGRAPHS: http://mujereshermosasdelmundoentero.blogspot.com.es/2011/03/trinidad-y-tobago.html http://fianceebodas.com/2013/07/trinidad-y-tobago/ http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/LocationPhotos-g147387-Trinidad_and_Tobago.html

Nature’s Fury is Inevitable

Written by Anam Gill on . Posted in Anam's blog: Global issues, E-Magazine, General Information, Green Economy, News, Publications, Take Action

Against the backdrop of the current political deadlock in Pakistan, many other important issues affecting thousands of people have been sidelined.

The media is all eyes and ears for the fiery speeches, debates and discussions in the power play, and the awareness definitely plays an important role in stabilising the situation.But what about the section of the populace greatly affected and displaced by the current war in north west Pakistan and the floods?PAKISTAN_-_0911_-_Alluvioni_e_Chiesa_(F)

Photo Source: www.asianews.it

At least 193 people have lost their lives and 164 injured across Pakistan during floods in the first week of September. The overflowing rivers are wreaking havoc on already frail infrastructure in many regions in Pakistan.

According to the National Disaster Management (NDMA) report, 28, 538 people have been affected in Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.The number of people displaced by floods at this moment is still unknown. Sadly, even catastrophes of this magnitude can’t bring our politicians together and prioritise these issues.

Just a glance at the record of floods from 2010 to 2014 shows how major a threat monsoon rains currently are. Surprisingly, in the 2010 floods, the number of individuals affected exceed the total of individuals affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, Kashmir earthquake in 2005 and the Haiti earthquake in 2010.And the loss of lives is not limited to the figures or numbers reported every time in the media.How many more red flags do we need to realise that climate change is an issue which affects all of us?

It is sad to know that globally, the people most affected by climate change are the ones who are least responsible for it.Perhaps that’s why we’re so resistant to the climate change alarm, which sits comfortably amidst us as we go about our agendas with the ‘business as usual’ approach.There is near-universal agreement among activists that efforts to limit carbon emissions have failed miserably, and that failure doesn’t come because the movement has embraced the oxymoron of “sustainable growth” or because it needs to work more closely with the business community. Rather, it’s because climate change activism is not challenging the key invisible narratives that drive our civilisation.

Being part of the Rio+20 UN Earth Summit held in Brazil, I can say that the willingness to acknowledge the threat and act accordingly is lacking.Now with another UN Summit on climate crisis in September, it is hoped that meaningful action will be taken. We have had enough talks sitting comfortably in the past behind closed doors.Earlier talks have ended mostly without reaching any important conclusion or an action plan. It should be more than just about choosing an exotic destination, inviting world leaders and activists to talk. We have had enough talks and it is no rocket science that we are destroying the biodiversity which allows nature systems to work efficiently.

It is time to take action if we want the seven billion people living on this planet to live with finite resources. No amount of funds can save us if we keep on destroying and polluting the soil, water and air which keep us alive.

The People’s Climate March to be held on September 21 aims at gathering hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Delhi, New York, London , Berlin, Rio de Janeiro and Jakarta; and pressure world leaders who will be gathered for the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit to take action on global warming.This is the largest mobilisation in the history of climate change and it wants to send a strong message to the world leaders — it is time to take action.

“People from across the planet will be making sure that leaders gathered in New York know the demand for action comes from every corner. This is the first truly global problem, and it has spawned the first truly global movement,” says Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org.

In Pakistan, the issue of climate change is often sidelined and replaced with more “important issues”, without the acknowledgement that the social, economic and political issues are all intertwined.The earthquakes, the floods, the energy crisis, the rising temperatures, the unavailability of clean drinking water — are these not ‘important’ enough problems? Or is it just that we choose to stay aloof?

 Recently, most Pakistanis rejected the hypothetical UN Study based on a conjectural 9.0 magnitude earthquake in the Makran Trench (a meeting point for Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, off the coast of Pakistan). The study stated that Karachi, home to around 18 million people, could be wiped out by a tsunami if something like that happens.

Karachi experienced a tsunami in the past too. In 1945, around 4000 people lost their lives to it.Instead of being sceptic about it, it is time to take aggressive measures to counter climate change. We are already seeing and feeling its effects. Let’s not shut our eyes to it.

Republished from http://www.dawn.com/news/1132137/how-many-disasters-does-pakistan-need-to-focus-on-climate-change