Call for media to inform public of environment issues


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Category: Trinidad Society 23 June 11


For over 50 weeks now, the Guardian Multi Media series, Cleaning Up The Mess has been creating awareness about the sad state of our environment, on CNC3 television, on our Facebook page, and in this space, every Thursday. We have bemoaned the fact that we have had no waste management legislation for over a decade. We at Guardian Media also walk the talk. Today our guest columnist is Guardian Media’s NICOLE BACHAN, a young woman who finds out that in a nation with practically zero environmental awareness, getting a bunch of people together to plant some trees isn’t easy but the experience in partnering with the Forestry Division, for those who do care, is sublime.

Trudging through the muddy forest bed making my way up the hills in St Michael’s, Tacarigua, last week I felt a sense of accomplishment that we made it this far, a small step in the right direction, but with great anticipation for bigger things to come. My small team at Guardian Media Ltd arrived at our destination at the crest of the hills in Tacarigua to plant forest trees in commemoration of World Environment Day, June 5, and the International Year of Forests 2011. When the initiative was first presented to me as an item on a list of things to get done, an immediate thrill filled me.  I was so excited about the venture and I assumed that it would have been an easy task to muster up a sizable group, but this proved to be my main challenge.

With the media industry constantly busy with daily news and routine office expectations, I almost thought I was in it alone. After my first failed attempt to recruit volunteers I decided to push through for a second attempt. I created an inviting poster, sent out a follow up e-mail, visited and called key individuals in the organisation to assist in the recruiting process. I came in on Thursday ready to meet my team and despite the small turnout, the enthusiasm and excitement that accompanied them was more than enough to fill the empty seats. As we made our way to the top of the hill the sounds of the forest came to life. A soft breeze, crisp air and chirping birds surrounded us.

There was a steel staircased structure, it was a lookout about 20 feet high overlooking the busy eastern side of our island. We met with several supervisors from the Forestry Division who willingly shared the issues affecting our natural forested areas such as deforestation, slash and burn, forest squatting, forest fires, quarrying and illegal farming. It is also important for us as a media conglomerate to inform the public of the importance of protecting our forested areas to avoid serious flooding issues that plague our homes and villages every rainy season, causing loss of life, property, livestock and crops. As Benedicte Figueroa, one of the forest ranger’s said, “People might not appreciate that we spend our lives outdoor taking care of and trying to protect the forests only to see trees destroyed in a matter of moments.
“For every one tree which was destroyed in the forest, the division’s goal is to plant ten more.”

Following the informative session, we then went off to plant and plant we did to our hearts delight, in spite of the slight rain. We planted pink poui, yellow poui, cedar, cypre and Oliviere trees along the mountain side. I was happy to see even our very own CNC3 camera crew and Guardian photographer, getting their hands ‘soiled’ as well. I believe it’s important for us to take a proactive stance and get involved.

It helps to build camaraderie, creates excitement and encourages a little fun among our employees. I would encourage other organisations to partner with the Forestry Division or any other organisation in giving back to our communities and environment. I must commend the division for its efforts in conserving our rainforests and for partnering with Guardian Media Ltd in this tree-planting exercise in commemoration of World Environment Day 2011.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur