Sunday, August 11, 2013

WRITE SOMETHING NICE, NUH? - the Peter O'Connor commentary

Well, I really wish I could find “something nice” to write about these days. 

Don’t get me wrong, folks. There still remains so much beauty, and beautiful places and people and even happenings in our lives, but these are all being hidden by the crime, violence, corruption, physical degradation, our discarded filth and our attitudes which dictate that we all have rights but none of us have responsibilities.

So, as our standards of morality and ethics disintegrate before our eyes, it is no wonder that some people, when they look around at what we are becoming, wish that someone would write something nice, paint a prettier picture, sing a gentler song, for they no longer want to read, see or hear the ugly things in their daily lives. 

And people, tired of reading everyone’s complaints, stop me and ask if there is nothing good about which I can write. Well good things are still there, still with us, like isolated embers in a dying fire, waiting to be fanned into flames of warmth, comfort, light and yes, enlightenment.

But, of course, so is the evil, nastiness and the corruption, and the requests for “something nice” put me in what I refer to as “Stalin’s Dilemma”. Calypsonian Black Stalin sang about our ills and sang that when these things are fixed, “Then I going to sing about Dorothy!” and the fetes and the fun!
But things are not going to get fixed “just so”, not while we just leave them to fix themselves. While we wait, and we seem content to just wait, and maybe “pray to Gord”, things continue to fall apart, in moral, ethical and physical aspects. But today I want to try to forget the politicians and talk again about our mountains forests and water courses. Bear with me.

If you drive the almost eight miles from Arima to the Asa Wright Nature Centre you will see several landslips. But all of these are within just one mile, and that mile is where the forest was cleared to plant christophene. So why, along seven miles of mountain road, is only one section slipping, bringing down the mountain, and destroying an important road?

Because the forest and the trees have been cut, plain and simple. We refuse to accept it but that is the truth. Landslips are caused by us, when we move the trees, bulldoze the land, quarry the mountain sides and seek to “develop” these valleys. But is it not the “Right” of people to cut the trees on their land (assuming that the land is owned by the desecrator)? The answer is yes, but within reason. No one has an untrammeled right to do things on their land which may cause damage to surrounding land, roads or buildings, whether in Belmont or in the Arima Valley.
The ongoing destruction of the Arima Road between the five and seven mile marks is being caused by the removal of the forest there, and this must be acknowledged as unacceptable, and forest trees must be planted to save our road and hillside in the long term.

And “saving our hillsides” means keeping our roads passable, ensuring our long term water supply is both there and pure, prevention of devastation by flooding, and overall improvement of our environment.

Trinidad and Tobago is home to some of the loveliest forests, clear mountain streams and waterfalls, beautiful wildlife plants and flowers, wetlands, and beaches, all of which modern, caring societies will treasure if they had them. But not us! It is like we hate all these things. 

Cut the forests, bulldoze the hills, kill the animals, every damned one of them, poison the rivers, wipe out the butterflies and the bees—these are the activities we protect and encourage, while the rest of the world is protecting the environment, envying the remains of this beautiful heritage of ours, and travelling here to see, appreciate and enjoy all that we seek to destroy.

There is value, huge value, jobs and profits to be enjoyed by the protection and sustainability of all these things we are destroying. And the “constituency” which enjoys the destruction is very small, so in political reality, governments have nothing to lose by banning the destruction of our natural heritage. And in economic terms the cost of
sustainability is about zero. Compare the cost of flood mitigation and flood clean up in the Diego Martin Valley with that of the Arima Valley. 

How come the Arima, Aripo and Guanapo valleys never flood, and Diego and Maraval always flood? You know the answer, you just won’t acknowledge it!

Join the world, T&T! Discover, acknowledge and enjoy our natural heritage, and then you will protect it, become proud of it, share it, and we will all write something nice about it!

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai