Safeguarding the environment is one of the foundations of peace and security…Kofi Annan, 2001.
Friends of the Earth-Grenada, at this juncture, in the context of Covid and continuing global unrest want to draw attention to the fact that 21 September is the Universal Day of Peace.
Based on what is happening in Grenada and the wider Caribbean, we want to express grave concern at the rate of onslaught on the environment, nationally, regionally and globally. This is creating the conditions for conflicts in the future for young people and the unborn generations to come where there will be shortages of water, food and recreational/ green/common space.
We are in the era of the Sustainable Development goals born out of Agenda 21 created at the Rio conference in 1992 and yet we seem to be working avidly against all the principles which are agreed again and again at various conferences and summits. We are ignoring the very Precautionary Principle which is supported by the late Kofi Annan’s quote above (the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations, from 1997 to 2006). The Precautionary Principle when used as a guideline in environmental science decision making has 4 components: taking preventative action in the face of uncertainty; shifting the burden of proof to the proponents of an activity; exploring a whole range of alternatives to possibly harmful actions; and increasing public participation in decision making. It is clear for all to see in Grenada that this is not being addressed when we see our patrimony being allowed to be destroyed, by those in authority, by foreign investors in the name of employment and progress.
Small Island States in particular are under great threat from climate change and our practices re lack of protection of our coastal zones; biodiversity and water management for example, will leave us vulnerable to external forces such as unscrupulous foreign investors; natural disasters and the threat of war in our region, therefore we need to strengthen communities, institutions and our laws with a focus on managing conflict and collaboration.
This calls for strong and exemplary leadership, one that cultivates a basis of trust; encourages transparency; inspires by having an inclusive vision of equality and equity for all and talks of the responsibility to each other and ecology. In turn the people have to open their eyes and begin to hold each other and administrations to account.
“We must convince each generation that they are transient passengers on this planet earth. It does not belong to them. They are not free to doom generations yet unborn. They are not at liberty to erase humanity’s past nor dim its future”. Bernard Lown, introduction to ‘Peace, a dream unfolding’.
Friends of the Earth-Grenada
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