What does our Environment means to us?
The Bahamas has always been considered an archipelago with rich wild life and beautiful natural resources. Our beautiful white powered sandy beaches, and our aqua marine waters has been and is one of our vital assets as a country, drawing visitors from near and far since the first voyage of Christopher Columbus. Many of the wild life that is seen in the Bahamas are indigenous to the Islands, such as the lignum vitea tree with its blue flowers. The Bahama parrot, which is becoming an endangered species, can now only be found in Abaco and Great Inagua and now we are seeing several of our iguana species disappearing.
The Bahamas is our home but it is shared by thousands of living plants and animals that need to be protected. The earth is a living planet; it harbors nature’s riches treasure, LIFE. The living community that God has given us is made of such incredible variety and profusion that it is truly a garden that we need to cultivate. Today, as we enter this new millennium, we are entering an era when our world might well be called a HUMAN PLANET. Humanity's heavy footprint is putting enormous pressure on much of the natural world. We are altering the living systems of the globe so rapidly and extensively that nature can no longer adjust and recover from one damaging impact before another occurs and compounds the other.
What our government needs to understand is The Carrying Capacity of Life. “Carrying Capacity" is a fundamental ecological concept that applies to species population and their habitats. The carrying capacity of a given habitat, be it a small Caribbean island, a continent, an ocean, or the entire earth, is the population size of one or more species that can be sustained indefinitely without degrading the resources base on which it depends. This is affected by the per capita use of resources (Development) by the population as well as interactions among all species residing there. The frighten thing about this is that the principle applies to humans just as surely as it does the other species.
If one species expands its numbers significantly, it will necessary displace some or all of the population of other species that compete with it for food, space and other resources. This should be a wake up call for our governments and our environmental experts to address the issues on deforesting and over development of New Providence considering the carrying capacity of humans is increasing at the expense of other creatures.
The Clifton Cay development has once sparked controversy throughout the county because of the negative environmental impact on the wildlife in that area. The question is and was, does the economic benefit out weight the environmental preservation? The development of Clifton Cay according to the experts will destroy the natural course of Jaws Beach and also have a negative impact on the coral reefs that has been a tourist attraction for many of our visitors. Are we prepared to develop Clifton and other areas of The Bahamas without taking in consideration the Carrying Capacity on the plants and animals in that area? Or, what about the Carrying Capacity on the cultural and historical ruins that will be destroyed on that plantation?
Are we prepared to destroy the only memory left of the slaves that lived on that plantation? Or are we prepared to make the same mistake some of our Caribbean and Latin America neighbor has made when large multinationals timber companies from Asia targeted Latin America in the 1980's because of its heavy debt-ridden country such as Guyana, Surinam and Belize. In 1991 Guyana, struggling with nearly $3 billion in international debt, sold the rights to log nearly one-tenth of the nation-over 4 million acres- to a Malaysian Korean-owned company.
The 1995 Belize, on the flyway of many songbirds that nest in the U.S., sold logging right to another Malaysian company, which began logging over 200,00 acres in the country's most pristine forest region. In another notorious case, Texaco's 25 years of oil production in EcuadorAmazonia's rivers.
led to the deforestation on 2.5 million acres of rain forest and cause up to 4.3 million gallons of chemicals to be dumped daily into
Over the last two centuries, the style of development that has been pursued has led to the depletion, destruction and degradation of the earth’s natural resources. These natural resources are absolutely vital for the continued existence of the planet and for the maintenance of a reasonable quality of life.
This path of development has seen the industrialized countries consuming a disproportionate portion of the world’s resources in relation to their population, while at the same time producing most of the toxic wastes and chemical substances which are polluting and causing harm to both health and the environment. The depletion of the Ozone is a good example. Concerns of the Ozone depletion has risen tremendously of the past 10-20 years by many government officials. Air pollution caused by Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), which is a chlorine based compound that is used in aerosol propellants, refrigerant, solvent, and coolants.
CFC’s are also responsible for the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer as the chlorine released through the breakdown of CFC’s reacts with Ozone. Since 1960s, Ozone levels over parts of Antarctica have dropped almost 49% during some months and a “hole” is clearly visible. The likely effect of Ozone depletion is an increased incident of skin cancer and cataracts.
With the Excessive amount of UV- Rays entering the earth’s atmosphere, planet earth is now experiencing a new problem, Global Warming. Global Warming is now a major political and environmental issue not only for the rest of the world but for the Bahamas also. Global Warming is caused by an excess build up carbon dioxide in the earth atmosphere, which as a result, threatens to destabilize the worlds climate,. Causing the so-called greenhouse effect.
Carbon dioxide is a natural component of air and a vital part of the carbon cycle. However, as a result of the industrial emission resulting from combustion of fossil fuel ( and also cutting down of the earth’s forests) triggers a negative effect of carbon dioxide because the plants that breathe in Carbon dioxide and converts it into energy are all being destroyed because of development. As a result, Carbon dioxide rises and from a thin layer over the earth’s atmosphere and traps heat from sun light in the earth causing the earth’s temperature to rise above normal. This is why it is called Global Warming.
Many environmental studies have shown the earth’s temperature has risen about 1 to 2 degrees in the north causing the Ice glaciers to slowly melt, which is causing catastrophic flooding in many parts of the world and heavy rains. Experts say the flooding will take place in the Bahamas with in the next 75years.
Global Warming could have serious effect on our health. As a result in temperature increase more and more people are likely to die from heat stress, heart disease strokes and chest disease which are all temperature related. Serious steps needs to be taken to preserve our environment. We have done a good job of destroying our environment without considering the long-term effects or taking into consideration the Carrying Capacity of cutting down our trees, over development of our land, polluting our waters and contaminating our air.
The BDM wants all Bahamians to be able to enjoy the Bahamas magnificent natural heritage -- and we want our people to know that the air they breathe is pure, the water they drink is clean, and the land they live on is safe from hazards. We understand we have a sacred obligation to protect God's earth and preserve our quality of life for our children and our children's children. We are committed to reform, so we will be dedicated to protecting our environment The BDM will continue to maintain and preserve the integrity of the environment in order to enhance our ecosystem. With the increase in global warming, deforestation, pollution and continued destruction of the ozone, it will be the mandate of the BDM to insure that proper legislation in enacted and enforced in order to protect our environment.
We will seek establish an environmental court that will prosecute environmental offenders and impose heavy fines. These monies will be used to assist in funding the BDM's implementation of an environmental task force that will be responsible for policing and protecting the environment. The Environmental task force will also work with the road traffic department to ensure all vehicles are inspected once a year to meet the required international environmental emissions standards. The environmental task force will also work in collaboration with the ministry of works with community clean up campaigns, restoration of our forts and maintenance of all government building.
The BDM believes that every Bahamian must exert a strong sense of National Pride in the preservation of their environment for the future generations. Therefore, we will ensure that our National parks are preserved, our indigenous Plants and animals are protected, and our waters not polluted. The BDM will ensure that the environment is preserved for generations and generations to come.
The BDM will ensure that every vacant property in commercial areas are kept in an acceptable manner. All landowners will be required to keep their property in a decent manner. The BDM believes that as a tourist destination, we are required to keep our buildings in high standards. Therefore, we will ensure that all buildings in the down town area are kept in acceptable standards to ensure a good cosmetic look.
The BDM will ensure that our littering laws are enforced in order to stop the continuing of trash on our streets. The BDM will also ensure that environmental programs are taught in our schools in order to instill a sense of National Pride in our children. We will also ensure that trash bins are placed throughout the city and also in our family Islands. In addition, we will also upgrade our garbage collection facilities by placing more garbage trucks on our street to ensure the timely collection of the cities garbage. We believe we have a duty to preserve God's earth and The Bahamian quality of life for future generations. We will continue to support responsible recycling programs.
Today the BDM knows that we can protect the environment and expand the economy. We believe we can create more jobs over the long run by cleaning the environment. We will challenge businesses and communities to take more initiative in protecting the environment, and we want to make it easier for them to do it.