How much for a “good life?”

We all want the good life. The truth is that many of us dream of a world where we can have everything we need and afford anything we want. Everywhere we look we see that car we should have, the Cell phone we must buy and that new pair of shoes that is perfect for us.

The various types of media help shape our valuation of necessity and create a culture of consumerism as an expression of this “good life.” At what cost though? What is the price of having everything you want in the world?

A study published by science writer Tim De Chant in 2012 revealed that if the seven billion people on earth lived like the population of the United States of America, we would need 4 planets to sustain that level of consumption. Similarly, we would need 5.4 planets to keep up with a global lifestyle like that of the population of United Arab Emirates.

The frightening fact is that we only have one planet Earth and yet world levels of consumption in 2016 was equivalent to 1.5 planet Earth. On August 2nd, 2017, according to the Global Footprint Network, humanity will exhaust nature’s budget for the year, so then after we will be using more resources than the earth can naturally replenish.

But what does all this mean in our Caribbean context? Do we now have to close up shop and return to the days of cold pots and candles in an attempt to preserve our planet? Or should we just pass the blame to the developed countries and continue business as usual?

A report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) stated that 6% of world food wastage occurs in the Latin America and the Caribbean, and each year we waste about 15% of the food available to us.

Additionally, the World Bank predicted that by 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population will be without proper drinking water.

According to the Climate Innovation Centre over the past decade (2000-2010), primary energy consumption in the CARICOM region has grown, yet, when we examine the records, our productivity and overall output has not increased proportionately.

Right here in Grenada we can attest to the high level of food wastage in the tourism industry and even in our homes.

There is also the vigorous growth of the second-hand automobile industry that can create a major issue with scrap metal and chemical waste if not managed correctly.

Not to mention the ever-growing market for cell phones, laptops and tablet without the proper disposal channels to handle the “outdated” models we eventually throw away.

All these and many others are the situations we face here in Grenada in regards to waste reduction, energy efficiency and sustainability. This basically means we are spending more to produce less.

Here is the conclusion of the matter, we need to find a better way! Over the past 20 years, the world has experienced a rise in global awareness of sustainable development, energy efficiency and renewability, waste reduction and now most recently Cleaner Production and Eco-efficiency.

There is no better time than now to increase awareness in Grenada, implementing projects and programmes to educate and empower Grenadians on these issues.

Some of our hotels have adopted the green initiative and sustainable industry practices by integrating environmentally friendly practices to their services.

Other industries in Grenada are slowly adapting to the green initiative as national awareness continue to grow; this is a bold step in the right direction.

There is so much more to be done but we are definitely making strides towards living in harmony with creation while developing our society.

So when we understand that we can live in harmony with the environment and still be economically and socially prosperous, then and only then can we have the ‘Good Life.’

Dennison Slocombe

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