Executive Member of the Waitukubuli Advocate for Viable Environment (WAVE) and Former Minister of Agriculture, Atherton Martin has raised major concerns about what he says is the dreadful neglect of Dominica’s natural resources by local authorities and citizens of the country.
During a celebration of the 51st anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd 2021, Martin explained how modern society seems to have created a false dichotomy between earning a living and caring for the very resources that is needed in order to acquire a livelihood.
“A separation has been foisted on modern society that we have to make our money, get a job, do so many things and when we get those things, we will take care of the environment. When we get that big house; we will worry about the river, when we get the big job; we’ll worry about the forest, the beach, the reefs and the animal life,” Martin stated while delivering an address at the anniversary event which was held at the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU).
He said this notion forces people to choose between themselves and the environment when, in fact, it is not a question of choosing but learning to combine the engine of livelihood with the care and management of natural systems.
Martin noted that Dominica has had a long history of conservation and adoration of the natural environment by breaking ground; declaring a significant portion of its land as a national Park, twenty-five years 25 years before the world environment movement assumed its present form of the declaration of Earth Day in 1971.
“A lot of people do not realize that there is a long and powerful legacy of conservation of natural resources which drives and brings us to this point in 2021 and part of our weakness, part of why we have not been able to prevail more than we have is because we fail to recognize, recall, remember, remind and most importantly, we fail to claim that legacy,” he posited.
For the last several months, WAVE has taken on the challenge of documenting the current day reality of Dominica’s nature which Martin states has been “undermined” and “compromised” adding that this gathered information will be used to alert the international community for support and to let the world know that “all is not well” with the nature island.
The former agricultural minister added that because the protection of natural resources seems to appear unimportant in the bigger scheme of life in today’s world, he is privileged to be working with a younger generation of persons “who will be taking up the mantel of pushing for policy, education and resources for the next generations of residents of Dominica.”
World Earth Day is a way that the global community has chosen to record its concerns about negative impacts the world faces and to encourage persons to take action which will assist in maintaining the planet as a place that is conducive to human and animal existence.
The theme for this year’s Earth Day was ‘Together we can restore our earth.’