The Way We Live
Environment TOBAGOFocus On Tobago´s Environment
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The Way We Live

      We are in the age of technology and knowledge and mundane things like sustainability and caring for the environment somehow seems to have lost its place. Gene mapping, computer technology, remote sensing devices and many exciting developments have captured our attention.

      Perhaps we can use these developments to help us with maintaining our biodiversity. Take the computer for example, it makes us save paper and this impacts on the number of trees used in the paper industry. We may rationalise that technology can replace nature. We may be able to go into an oxygen café for air, we may eat tablets for food and we may live in virtual reality.

      However, we live in a world where there are food webs and food chains and our actions impact on the ecosystem so we must care because we are practicing conservation for the benefit of our children. We live in a real world and there is biodiversity to be maintained. We speak of the world as a global village and we must therefore appreciate that our actions are not insular but affect the global village we all share. Let us learn to think globally in all our actions. Let us look at the big picture.

      Have you noticed that we are returning to some of the old thinking? Think about reuse, recycle and reduce and reflect on the Tobago before the nineteen eighties.

      As a child we threw unwanted stuff in the gully and if you know Runnemede there are an abundance of gullies. In fact, as far as I know, it is one of the few places in Tobago where the guys know how to play football on a slope. The gully was our garbage dump. Now, when I look back on it we didn’t have too much non-biodegradable stuff. It was only if a can/tin had passed beyond its use. This has caused me to reflect on our past and the way we dealt with things environmental. Of course the word environment was not as popular as it is today.

      In our lives we had more than ample examples of reuse, reduce and recycle. I would like the reader to decide whether we were adhering to these tenets and whether perhaps we can revisit these practices to determine their application and applicability to our present day lives or how we can apply modern technology to achieve the same results.

      We used empty cans/tins in several ways. They could be flowerpots (nicely painted); cake pans and when flattened served as a baking` sheet; as storage for sugar, flour, you name it; drinking containers (condensed milk tins); as a cooking utensil; as a shower rose; nail punched as a grater. I may have left out some of the uses.

      Bottles, paper bags, old clothes and other commodities fared the same fate. I mean the ultimate for clothes when they passed beyond ‘hand me downs’ or bedding, were stripped and threaded into a bag-like material for floor mats. Even biodegradable material had other uses. The husks from the corn were stuffed into a sack to make mattresses. The cob from the corn was a good scrubber.

      These examples may make interesting reading but I urge you to think of the application of this kind of thinking on our daily lives. Think of how in the present circumstances we can tailor some of these sustainable ideas for our benefit. - THA Department of Natural Resources and Environment
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