Communities Field Note: Caring About the Environment

Our global environment is in serious trouble. Are you all aware of the fact that there is a huge plastic waste dump floating around in the Pacific Ocean? The size of this area of waste is said to be like that of the continental United States. Are you curious how this could happen? I am ready to educate you all, and provide background information into the seriousness of this issue! I will tell you what I have learned living in Barbados.


Let’s talk about recycling. Do you recycle? Is it easy for you? In Barbados, it is not always easy. There are only seven small recycling centers that are available for over 200,000 people living on this island. These places accept things such as plastic, newspapers, glass, cardboard, cans and bottles. There needs to be a stronger push on this issue. Recycling needs to become easier for the people of Barbados.


Many people of the older and younger generations do not really feel as though they play a role in protecting the environment. A student on campus mentioned, “Draining systems are not very clean. Every time it rains, trash starts floating around.” I then asked about her feelings toward this issue. She said, “Well, I think the government will do what it needs to.” This woman does not sound empowered to protect the environment she lives in. I struggled to find people who felt they could make a difference in protecting the environment.


One student stood out. Iman, who a Biology major at the University of West Indies, came up with a great idea. He believes that government officials should dedicate a day for the next five or ten years to show movies about waste management on television. He also thinks the local buses and ZRS should feature waste recycling ads. He believes that as the most developed region of the Caribbean, Barbados will set a lead for others to follow. Iman said, “Since many Barbadians are not mindful of the environment they live in, hopefully these new plans will convince them.”


Some local non-profit organizations are trying to help. One group called CORE focuses on helping local Barbadians recycle. This organization picks up recyclable waste from people’s homes, to make it easier.


Barbados has definitely taken some steps to help the environment by conserving energy. The majority of properties in Barbados get their hot water through solar power, or the energy of the sun. Solar power happens through flat panels that are on the roofs of many buildings. I think this is a very green and cool way of preserving the environment and providing warm water to bathe in.


I wonder what this world would be like if we would all take equal responsibility of making sure that we always recycle everything. Social issues or problems that affect people are usually linked to environmental issues. I hope that you all will develop an interest for recycling, educating others and finding new ways of solving environmental concerns.

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