Sustainable development – development that meets the needs of the present without affecting the future generations from sustaining theirs, basically sustainable development is about the big picture of how the social, cultural, economic, political and environmental factors fit together, it’s about improving the life of everyone regardless of the part of this world they reside and we must achieve this together through the understanding the needs of today and tomorrow’s world.

Dr. Klaus Topper states that Sustainable Development is the peace policy of the future.

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In order to shape the world in a sustainable fashion we need to identify our sustainable development goals and outline where they came from by undertaking this  exercise we have a unique opportunity to come together and plan for our future, in a holistic manner seriously considering our social, economic and environment matters and their contributions to our life.

At a world population of 7.2 billion (2013) and rapidly increasing since the industrial revolution, this is quickly becoming a very complicated world, causing a great gap between the world’s rich and poor along with extreme environmental challenges in our attempt to satisfy the needs of all. Collectively we have the power to bring about real changes and determine which species survive and how many will be extinct in years to come, the type air we breathe or the type of water we drink and how we use and reuse our resources are in the hands of every human alive. We are now a part of a world that is extremely connected to our economies, manufacturing, financing, ideas, advertising, human resources and our individual development.

We are now living in an unprecedented situation and as the world population and environmental conditions continue to change, a number of countries worldwide are stuck in the 1980’s addressing the demand of only one third of their population alive, let’s look a at Bangledesh as a prime example this country has a population of 157 million people an increase of 90 million in 44 years, and with the number of births rapidly exceeding deaths we can just imagine the population growth in the next 10 years. The question is can Bangledesh withstand such an increase in a sustainable way and in a manner where all of the population have access to  clean drinking water, clean air to breath, access to education, transport, jobs, health care, proper living condition and healthy food the short answer is no.


Young boy walking in piles of garbage in Bangledesh

Source: bangladesh

Many countries around the world like Bangledesh are crippled with poverty, poor infrastructure, solid waste woes, pollution, inadequate transport and job opportunities simply because this country could not keep up with the population increases, and so the same picture could be painted for the entire world the long and short is that the world cannot keep up with the population growth and advancement, taking on unbelievable stress causing climate changes and global warming hence the reasoning behind the importance of sustainable development, we now have to accept that the world’s population is growing, address issues and decide collectively what we could do to ensure that we can survive 100 years from now.

Young boy walking in piles of garbage in India


At the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York world leaders came together to adopt a declaration by committing their nations to a new global partnership where they would be accountable for their action and lack thereof to reduce extreme poverty and setting a number of time bound targets, these goals are most commonly referred to as the “Millennium Development Goals”. The eight millennium Development Goals as outlined in the image below form what you can call is a blueprint agreed to by all the countries in the world and prominent development institutions in an attempt to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.


As a result of this collective agreement presently worldwide there are 700 million fewer people living in poverty, 90% of boys and girls worldwide are getting a primary school education, there is still a lot of work still to be done, with 1.2 billion people still living in extreme poverty and as a result of the financial crisis millions of people are still unemployed worldwide the more active we get at achieving sustainable development goals the more we build momentum to seriously address this situation in an integrated and problem solving way.

But the biggest problem of all is that most often the world’s population have no idea about sustainable development and what it means along are not concerned with the changes in the environment or how it would further affect their already poor living conditions. So what do we need to achieve sustainable development a shared vision communicated to all of the world’s population that their input matters, an all inclusive framework for action and clearly defined goals and targets, there must be a series of awareness campaigns lead my governments and NGO to get collective partnership by all of the world’s stakeholders.

Sustainable Development is the masterful balance of meeting our own needs without jeopardizing future generations’ ability to do the same.


Why you must know how an EIA can affect your life.

Recently a young man reading my blog post entitled Japan uses Climate Finance to fund coal-fired power plants”, wrote to me and said “I am really unclear about the functions of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), does it even make sense?” Can you help me to understand the importance of an EIA?


Well an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) according to the UNESCO-IHE is an important planning tool whose sole purpose is to give the environment its due place in the decision-making process by clearly evaluating the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making, consequences of a proposed activity at the design states.

Strategic assessment must be undertaken prior to an EIA which considers environmental objectives at a higher level of decision-making facilitating consultations between authorities on policy, planning and programs formulation, it strengthens and streamline projects for an EIA by analyzing accumulative and indirect effects of projects and activities. It aims also to predict environmental impacts at an early stage in project planning and design, find ways and means to reduce adverse impacts, shape projects to suit the local environment, and present the predictions and options to decision makers.


But more than that in my own honest opinion an EIA provides environmental activist the unique opportunity to stop environmental harm before it occurs and sometime an opportunity to work along with governmental agencies to solve, reverse and mitigate environmental damage after it has happen.

EIA essentially gives us the opportunity to affect environmental decisions, by rejecting projects that can be harmful to the environment before it happens, mitigate measures needed and make recommendations how they should be incorporated into the project design and the appropriate monitoring and evaluation activities that are required to ensure that mitigating measures are implemented and any future problems avoided.


The importance for undertaking an EIA :

  • An environmental impact Assessment, assist in outlining the necessary areas to consider how an organization will need to change or implement new laws in order to ensure environmentally sustainable development.
  • The implementation necessary measures to mitigate or monitor that may often have an impact on the work of one or several institutions. It will therefore be necessary to recommend precisely the structure and role of new units within an organization or the restructuring of existing units, so that the proposed measures can be implemented effectively.
  • Evaluate the environmental impacts of a proposed development or project and how it can threaten people’s lives and livelihoods. The environmental impact of a project should be considered at the earliest possible stage of the planning cycle, preferably at the project inception phase.

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  • Screening: deciding if an EIA is required based on information collected;
  • Scoping: gathering environmental intelligence through consultation with relevant agencies and experts and a review of applicable laws and regulations;
  •  Impact assessment: identifying and evaluating alternatives for achieving the objective, and the associated environmental impacts of each alternative;
  • Mitigation measures: reviewing proposed actions to prevent or minimize the potential adverse effects of the project;
  • Action: incorporating the mitigation measures in project design and implementation; and

EIA quote

An EIA essentially should give recommendations on local capacity building and while it is understood that economic, social and environmental changes are inherent to development it should aim to bring about positive change but it can lead to a number of severe conflicts, it is worth noting that economic growth springboards increased well-being but any development thrust with little sensitivity to adverse social or environmental impacts must be addressed in an EIA.

The need to avoid adverse impacts and to ensure long-term benefits led to the evolving concept of sustainability. This has become accepted as an essential feature of development if the aim is increased well-being and greater equity in fulfilling basic needs are met for this and future generations.

Pause on the causeway as Ann Makosinski unleashes Thermoelectric Power

This great news actually warrants a complete stop, at least I did when I stumbled upon this awesome article yesterday, while browsing the 1 Million Women website. 17 year old Ann Makosinski an aspiring scientist of Canada discovered a way we can now enjoy a hot drink and recharge our phone’s battery through green energy solution.

Ann created a mug with a USB connection called the E-drink, that connects your phone to your freshly brewed hot chocolate or green tea as a source of powder. Now get this its not young Ms. Makosinski’s first sustainable design, in 2013 she attended and won the Google Science Fair and won landed her a place on the Times Magazine 30 people under 30 changing the world at the age of 15 years old with her invention called The Hollow Flashlight this human powered flashlight uses body heat to light up.

Ann Makosinski at Google Science Fair (Photo by BETAKIT)

She stated that she came up with this brilliant idea for the torch while chatting to her Filipino friend who was experiencing frequent power outages following an earthquake making it difficult for her to study. This idea not only created a solution for her friend’s problem but also allowed her to explore more possibilities of heat as an excellent power source for everyday activities.

By using the same Peltier Tiles Technology used to make the hollow torch light from the transfer of harvested thermal energy, Makosinski stated that she decided to collect the lost heat as she waited for her hot drink to cool down enough to be consumed and converted it into electric energy. Although this amazing project is still in development, it is certainly a project that would make our lives much more greener and change the world.

Glass Recycling – Clever DIY Ways

I feel super embarrassed when I take my garbage out and all you can hear are the sounds of glass bottles knocking against each other. Somehow I judge myself, wondering what my neighbors are thinking, that I have been drinking all weekend. Well I have a clever solution for this embarrassing feeling.

Yes you guessed it recycle my glass waste, I have now made a pledge to say to to waste. Let’s state some facts courtesy Glass Packaging Institute – glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled infinitely without losing quality or strength, 80% of recovered glass packaging are made into new glass bottles, recycling glass has great environmental payoffs. It saves raw materials and its consumption, lessens demand for energy and cuts CO2 emissions see more here.

These are just a few of the ways you can recycle your old glass bottles at home:-

1.     Use your old wine bottles as a vase – some people cut the top using a bottle cutter purchase hereyou will have all you need to get the job done or you can use a special jig DIY instructions here when using the jig you would need to heat the bottle up and cool down until it breaks apart, following which you sand down the edges with a Dremel. That’s a bit too much work for me so I prefer to clean my old wine bottles, fill it half with water and stick my favorite flower into, this usually decorates my room beautifully for about 3-4 days.

2.      Pen holders, bathroom toothbrush or makeup holder – just attended a conference and on the display was these lovely makeup holders, made from beer bottles not sharp edges nothing. Apparently, the designer told me that all she did was cut the wine or beer bottle in half or based on here desired design requirements, using an old fashion kit found on eBay similar here, then sand blast to smooth the edges, this is particularly important since glass would cut you horribly bad. You could even have some letters and shapes applied on the outside, to identify the purpose.

Recycle toothbrush holder 


3.     Gratitude / Blessing Jar – this is my most favorite I spotted this while browsing Karen Civil’s Instagram account when I saw she had a gratitude jar here, I started and encouraged my friends and sisters to come along for the journey. Karen Civil’s jar cost $15.00 but I made one for free, all you need is a old jam jar, thoroughly clean, pieces of paper, pen and you have a gratitude jar, the idea is to fill it with all the good things that happens in your life, like an accomplishment, enjoyable moments etc. then on December 31st you open the jar and reveal the wonderful year you had.

4.      Glass Dispenser – screw on plastic dispenser from Trader Joe’s here or you can recycle the dispensers from shampoo, conditioner or lotion bottles, just screw on top any glass bottles a bit of trial and error, may ensue before you can find the right fit and then you have a unique DIY soap or lotion dispenser for parties, events or even to use around your home.

This is a quite soap dispenser made from a Coke bottle


Candle Holder – this is the easiest one of them all you would need is a glass bottle with a long neck, a candle just stick a candle into the bottle neck, light the candle and you have your self a candle holder for your dinners and special events. I use them for the occurrence of a power outage.

Glass recycling is both simple and beneficial, instead of sending our glass to landfills, that can take up to a million years to break down we can use cleaver way to reduce waste and use around our home, while being environmentally sustainable.

On Board with the Environment. 

Trinidad and Tobago Knowledge Fair, 2015 – Environment and Sustainable Development

I am extremely pleased and excited to inform you guys about an upcoming knowledge fair that focuses on protecting and promoting the Environment of Trinidad and Tobago.  The United Nations Development Programme through its Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) will fund, one (1) of the largest expos for environmental projects in Trinidad and Tobago with a theme of Igniting Global Envirominds – Transforming Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.

This event will be administered by the University of the West Indies at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business Main Campus in Mt. Hope on May 28th – 29th, 2015, during the event Trinidad and Tobago’s leading environmental organizations will discuss new ways to protect the environment and promote conservation, while highlighting project that have been making a difference in local communities throughout the country, UWI-ALJGSB Professor Miguel Carrillo stated that the goal of this fair is to bring about value, awareness and sense of urgency in the society to make conservation a way of life.


Opening Ceremony 2013 GEF SGP Knowledge Fair 


The GEF Small Grants Programme was established in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, with an aim of finding sustainable ways to halt the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources and pollution of the planet by providing financial and technical support to NGO’s, CBO’s and other Civil Society Organizations that seek to address issues of pollution, land degradation, climate change, biodiversity conservation and threats to international waters. This is imperative in maintaining a balance between human needs and the environment.

Some of the initiative undertaken by the GEF SGP in Trinidad and Tobago includes an awareness campaign called “Pride in Pawi” which seeks to educate hunters about the importance of the endemic Pawi Bird species, North East Sea Turtles (Nest Charlotteville) and Speyside Eco Marine Park Rangers (SEMPR) that aims to raise awareness on the threats to locally endangered marine turtle species, climate change resilience workshops and training for the Caura Valley and Sans Souci communities and a paper recycling project implemented by the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD).


Students engaging with staff at the 2013 Environment Knowledge Fair 


National Co-ordinator GEF-SGP Dr. Nesha Beharry-Borg stated that this knowledge Fair is significant in connecting community based organizations with government agencies, academia, students, private sector and members of the public. Beharry-Borg also went on to say that this year’s forum will also explore how to make environmental projects financially viable beyond initial funding and act as a unique and dynamic platform to discuss new ideas, share experiences and spur action on protection of the environment.

I am certainly attending, how about you?