Greener World: Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda are two small islands in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, so small I had never actually heard of them until doing research for this article. Also might be because they don’t rank high in the news scales for shocking environmental effects such as some other countries do. According to Go Green – An Ekotribe Initiative, they were able to provide me with a bit of insight as to how these Caribbean islands actually compared to the rest of the world on the “green” scales. The following chart depicts some of the common areas of environmental interest one might look at to assess how well a country is doing.

ENVIRONMENT STATS

FACTS STATS RANK
CO2 Emissions 359.1 156th of 178
Coral Reefs > Area 240 sq km 22nd of 28
Current Issues Water management – a major concern because of limited natural fresh water resources.
Forest Area > % of land area 20.45 % of land area 125th of 195
Known Threatened Species 6 144th of 158
Pollution > Carbon Dioxide 1999 95 167th of 199

~ Go Green – An Ekotribe Initiative (2012)

In being a person who has grown up in a country such as Canada where the landmass is so incredibly large, it is difficult to imagine having an issue with water management due to lack of resources. I am used to having environmentalists stress over the fresh water being polluted or climate change affecting the water levels in lakes and rivers. But to be a country so small that there just isn’t enough to go around – well, it becomes immediately understandable why there would be an environmental issue.

The paper by the European Commission sums it up quite well, “In a small country like Antigua and Barbuda, it is a major challenge to maintain a balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability because of limited natural, technical and financial resources, and the urgency of expanding the economy to create productive employment opportunities.  Although this is common sustainable development challenge, being a Small Island Developing State, it has two added and very significant dimensions. With threats such as climate change and the realities of population growth, the common issue of sustainable resource management becomes a critical problem of basic survival” (2007). This is all further compounded when taking into consideration things such as deforestation. Essentially, “deforestation resulting from the nation’s energy demands, combined with agricultural development, contributes to soil erosion, as rainfall, which is concentrated in a short season, quickly runs off, compounding the water shortage problem on the islands. The nation’s main city, St. John’s, has developed a problem with waste disposal. Untreated sewage from resort hotels travels in open sewage lines across the land and empties into the sea” (Wikipedia, 2012).

So how does one such country solve such an issue that is not just tied into the environmental, but affects its people’s very survival? It simply relies on the government to develop a plan that is adequate to bring them through. Fortunately for Antigua and Barbuda, its government “supports a Historical, Conservation and Environmental Commission” (Wikipedia, 2012). As a result, plans are in place to help ensure that there are protected areas of land to cultivate a better fresh water supply for all to enjoy. Nothing worse than an exotic tropical island country going to ruins because the only thing flowing through the land is untreated sewage from resort hotels. Doesn’t exactly say “paradise.”

Besides – going green isn’t just about the large countries battling with CO2 emissions and acid rain. It’s about the small countries as well. Each and every person on this planet is able to live and breathe because our environment allows us to. For today anyway. Who knows what tomorrow brings if we don’t make change now.

RESOURCES:

Go Green – An Ekotribe Initiative, Global Environment Stats, Ecological Footprints of Countries Worldwide – Ecological Footprint of Antigua and Barbuda (2012). Retrieved online from http://www.go-green.ae/footprint/antigua-and-barbuda on January 31, 2012.

European Commission, 2007 Annual Operational Review Antigua and Barbuda (2007). Retrieved online from http://ec.europa.eu/development/icenter/repository/jar06_ag_en.pdf on January 31, 2012.

Info Please, Antigua and Barbuda (2012). Retrieved online from http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107284.html on January 31, 2012.

Wikipedia, Environmental Issues in Antigua and Barbuda (August, 2010). Retrieved online from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_issues_in_Antigua_and_Barbuda on January 31, 2012.

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