Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management

Seeram Ken Maharaj 8131187785

Natural resources are considered the backbone of every economy in the world. According to the perspectives presented, Latin America and the Caribbean are one of the richest regions worldwide in terms of natural resources. There is no doubt that Trinidad and Tobago is blessed with an abundance of natural resources confirming what was said in the paper. But, is that the reality of some of the smaller Caribbean Islands? The question therefore, is energy resources considered the only natural resource? Several years ago, the backbone of the Caribbean was agriculture and fed the Caribbean and most of the European Nations. Agriculture was then considered the natural resource of the Caribbean. In Trinidad there was the famous, “Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture” supporting how developed agriculture was. It is that the sustainable use of the natural resource gift of agriculture was not protected and or poor leadership allowed the rapid exploitation of this natural resource which now threatens the core foundation of food security in the Caribbean? Unfortunately, these past natural resources were not transformed into real capital stocks and neither built to add to the wealth of the present and not even for future generations.  Natural disasters, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, etc. are serious threats when vulnerable people are exposed. One form of risk management is to probably evacuate people from such areas as far as practicable to avoid future problems. These disasters and climate change pose serious problems to agriculture sustainability as confirmed by the paper. The findings of the paper recommending a paradigm shift to adopt a fully sustainable agricultural model which protects natural resources, equitable socio-economic resources, coping with climate change and natural disasters and supported by the FAO is great but appears not to touch on the overall concept of sustainable development. According to the European Commission, “Sustainable Development stands for meeting the needs of present generations without jeopardizing the ability of futures generations to meet their own needs – in other words, a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come”. Policies alone will not help with sustainable development; the everyday challenges by the many guiding choices must also be taken up by citizens or society at large in conjunction with the political and socio-economic decisions taken. This requires profound changes in attitude, thinking and culture change, matters not mentioned in the paper.

References:

European Commission, http://ec.europa.eu/environment/archives/eussd/index.htm

FAO:  http://www.fao.org/americas/perspectivas/sistemas-alimentarios-caribe/en/

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