“We can no longer live in a way where we essentially pillage the environment”

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– Prime Minister at Greenwalk
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who is performing the duties of President, led a large procession of students, government employees and members of civil society through the Garden City yesterday, as they celebrated Environment Week.

The annual march through the streets of Georgetown began at the Umana Yana in Kingston and ended up at the Botanical Gardens. Hinds was joined by Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Manniram Prashad and representatives of the Marian Academy, Graham’s Hall Primary School, the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Banks DIH, the Guyana Police Force Academy, Iwokrama and Conservation International.
Having presented the Biodiversity message to the nation on Biodiversity Day, observed on May 22, the Prime Minister expressed commendation to all of the persons gathered for braving the rainy weather and completing the walk.
World Environment Day 2010 is being celebrated under the theme “Many Species, One Plant, One Future,” in support of 2010 being international year of biodiversity.
Recognizing that the march was symbolic of people’s desire to do something based on concern for mankind globally, the Prime Minister encouraged Guyanese to explore the comforts available in Guyana, by making early visits to the gardens, and to go bird-watching, an activity that Guyana is becoming famous for, as the Ministry continues to promote it as an attraction that tourists can and currently are enjoying.
He noted that mankind, as a species, has grown in significant numbers, becoming powerful and utilizing materials and resources from the environment, which are used, transformed, and in some instances put out back into the environment in a manner that is injurious to human and animal species alike.
He said that in the past, there was a tendency to isolate problems and as a result pollution became a problem, with the burning of coal and fuel from automobiles, which are returned to the environment as nitrous oxide and various other toxic gases.
The Prime Minister said, “Today, mankind has to develop a new way of living which allows all of earth’s people to be secure. We can no longer live in a way where we essentially pillage the environment. This poses new questions for engineers and scientists and all, and is a cause for all to show greater consideration for our surroundings.”
Addressing errant practices like littering and the dumping of bottles and styrofoam boxes that block drains, causing flooding, Prime Minister Hinds called on all to raise their standards and commit to being “a person for change, change for the future.”
He referred to the inculcation of the habit of tidying after picnic, gatherings or other activities where garbage would have accumulated, and reminded that disposal of waste must always be done in a safe, sanitary manner.

While a change in spirit is required, the Prime Minister stated that challenge before us is in the form of climate change; and in Guyana, “we have been committed, by the President, to a set a positive example in this regard, proving that we are for the environment.”
He referred to the work of Dr. Cheddi Jagan, who in many speeches given between 1992 – 1997, advocated the need for all to get involved, address climate change and the loss of biodiversity; and he recognized that Dr. Jagan was carrying on the efforts of President Desmond Hoyte, under whose tenure as Head of State Iwokrama was started, stating, “There is no one in Guyana who can excuse himself from responsibility and say that climate change is a partisan, political system. It is something that all Guyanese can be a part of .”
He noted that President Jagdeo is currently at a conference in Norway where discussions are continuing on ways that people of the world can come together to combat climate change. He expressed wishes of success, recognizing that the President was awarded as a Champion of the Earth, and continues to keep the Guyanese flag flying high as an example that people from small, developing countries are doing all that they can to combat climate change for themselves and for the world at large.
He encouraged all to monitor the developmental progress of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) at all levels.
The Prime Minister posited that all are challenged because the Low Carbon way is more advanced, requiring knowledge and being technologically advanced, and can be utilized for economic benefits.
At the conclusion of the march, awards were given for best banner, uniformity, most uniforms and the largest contingent. According to activity chairperson Sharifa Razac, the Director of Education, Information and Training Division, the Environmental Protection Agency, the march has been attracting more participants each year.  (GINA)