|DOMINICA and our GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
Our global environment, this
unique yet fragile planet we all inhabit, is facing a major crisis, the
fifth believed to have occurred during the brief period of life on
to be around 3.8 billion years (simple cells), 2 billion years (complex
cells), 1 billion years (multi cellular life) . Previous catastrophes,
in the extinction of between 65% and 95% of all living species, are
believed to have been caused by phenomena such as meteorites or large
colliding with the earth, unusual solar activity or
periods of increased volcanic activity, which drastically altered the
planet's atmosphere, temperature and climate, making it temporarily
inhospitable for a few thousand or even a few million years at a time.
Eventually conditions improved and, from the life forms that
did survive, new species evolved, adapted and diversified to succeed
in these transformed surroundings.
This current crisis is not the result of any natural phenomenon, but caused by nothing less than the IMPACT OF MANKIND. We have inhabited our planet for an estimated 3 to 4 million years as bipedal beings, gradually improving our abilities to adapt, improvise and to succeed as a species, even in the most remote and extreme conditions. Yet it is only in the past few hundred years that our impact has begun to inflict serious damage to our planet of a permanent and irreversible nature. The extent of this damage is accelerating at an alarming rate! We have, in fact, become too successful, expanding our numbers to populate every land mass available, driven by our unique curiosity, our ability to explore and to learn, to co-operate, to extract and exploit our natural resources and to invent. Almost inevitably we have arrived at a worldwide consumer society driven by ownership, cash, lending and spending, where success is measured in material terms and where true power is administered not by elected governments, but by the super wealthy.
A handful of informed scientists and environmentalists work tirelessly to set alarm bells ringing - to bring the crisis we are facing to our attention so that we might appreciate its significance and attempt to do something about it. Both individually and collectively, nationally and internationally, urgent measures are needed to restrict or reverse the rapid impoverishment of our planet. Governments, however, are barely listening and measures so far adopted or being considered are "too little and too late". There are many reasons for this attitude of denial, but two major stumbling blocks appear to be:
1. Those who own and control the big super rich corporations, who's primary goals are profit and growth, have succeeded through a process of political interference to dodge regulation and accountability. They should really be made to revisit and repair environments they have already trashed.
2. Complacency. This is an era of plenty, where almost everyone in the western world is incredibly well off by comparison with previous generations. Most live in a comfortable home with climate control, modern appliances, at least one television set, dvd player, music centre, personal computer etc., more toys than the kids will ever play with and motor vehicles outside. We walk around with our digital watches, mobile phones, ipads, camcorders and a set of credit cards in our wallets. All our food requirements are met by the local supermarket down the road. Our favourite pastime has become shopping. We spend several hours a day in front of the television set and with so many channels to chose from, its primary function is to keep us perpetually entertained and a vehicle to advertise. Mass media news has become more and more biassed and misleading, whilst audiences for documentaries are sadly dwindling. Even when informed of some major atrocity, abuse of our democratic rights or restrictions on our civil liberties, the general reaction mustered is often no greater than "Oh how awful! Let's have another cup of tea".
On this website, we take a look at the earth's place in the solar system, our galaxy and the universe, we are introduced to Dominica as an economy reliant on tourism and farming and we examine the modern day forces that are having such negative effects on our global environment. As the site is developed further, we will also examine the mechanics of how the planet works, the conditions for life on earth - how they came about and how they are now being compromised to the future disadvantage of our successors. We have to fully understand the problem (and make sure our leaders do also) before we can formulate and implement global solutions that will work. We will also be taking a look at how tiny Dominica can play a roll in demonstrating how to live a relatively modern lifestyle yet in harmony with nature. Organic farming is still in its infancy but gaining momentum. Already almost half our electricity supply comes from hydro - but we can do better. Geothermal is being explored, wind and solar can also contribute.
100% renewable energy for our national grid should be goal number 1.
Phasing out agro chemicals and transforming the island to a totally organic farming nation should be goal number 2.
Strict planning control is also essential to ensure the development that takes place is handled sensitively and sympathetically to our natural surroundings, thus in keeping with our Nature Isle concept.
Implemented sensibly these changes could prove financially advantageous, reducing our expense and dependence on polluting fossil fuels, on fluctuating oil prices on the world market and our reliance on health threatening and environmentally destructive imported agro chemicals. Then 'agro tourism' and 'energy tourism' could become bywords - ways for Dominica to demonstrate its benefit from these positive adaptations. Our pristine forests become more valuable with each passing day, as elsewhere the rainforests of the tropics are being cut down at a disturbing rate. An area of rainforest the size of Scotland is currently being destroyed each year, along with the fragile and complex network of life it supports. That is not sustainable!