Head of the Office of Climate Change (OCC) of the Ministry of the Presidency, Ms. Janelle Christian, last night, encouraged the residents of Bartica to be an example of conservation to the rest of Guyana.
Ms. Christian said this at the ‘A Night in the Park’ event, which was organised to celebrate Bartica’s first observance of Earth Hour. The event was held at the West Indian Green Park, Bartica, Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven).
Earth Hour is observed worldwide in order to raise awareness on the effects of climate change. For one hour on the last Saturday in March, commonly from 20:30 hours to 21:30 hours, homeowners, businesses, communities, and cities turn off non-essential electrical lights and appliances to save energy. The theme for this year’s Earth Hour is ‘Connect2Earth’. Residents from the West Indian Housing Scheme and surrounding neighbourhoods came out in their numbers to attend the event at the solar-powered park.
“Let us not, this Earth Hour, have a good time tonight and forget about it. Particularly, it’s even more important for [you], Bartica, given your designation because you are to be the model ‘green’ town for Guyana [in order] to show the rest of the country… [the] new concepts and innovations that we have to employ… to change the way we have been… pursuing our development over the years,” she said.
Mrs. Christian also encouraged the Barticians to challenge the status quo when it comes to being excellent stewards of the earth. “Let us rethink our actions as we go about our activities. We have to see and appreciate the value of nature, not only for economic gains… It is not and should not be business as usual. Dream and think big. Do not confine your minds to the things that have been happening in Guyana. You are to lead the way to a better future and show the rest of the country how this is to be done,” she said.
Mayor of Bartica, Mr. Gifford Marshall, said that all citizens of Guyana have the responsibility to educate themselves on the effects of climate change. He noted that ignorance will only see Guyana fall behind as the rest of the world advances. “Our environment is a reflection of the way we think… We must take responsibility for our actions… Many of us would have heard about the [Green State Development Strategy (GSDS)]. We have to ensure that we acquaint ourselves with that document… with information and knowledge where ‘greening’ is concerned so that we can take full responsibility to lead Guyana throughout our ‘green’ discourse. We cannot allow ourselves to continue to be ignorant of the basic facts and information that [are] out there. The world is moving apace and we ought to ensure that we keep up with that pace,” he said.
Representative from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Ms. Patricia Fredericks said that Guyanese should proactively contribute to Guyana’s pursuit of sustainable living. “I urge you to continue to be proactive and sow to contribute to our planet Earth… so that Guyana can remain one of the richest countries in biodiversity and that we can all have a healthy future for generations to come,” she said.
Bartician, Mr. Sheldon Calendar, who spontaneously came out to the event, was inspired to make small changes in order to reduce his carbon footprint.
“It encouraged me, in my little way, to help save the environment… It’s pretty basic. I would stop burning garbage and encourage others to stop burning their garbage… I’d encourage them to get bins [instead of] burning the garbage because the smoke affects the ozone layer,” he said.
West Indian Housing Scheme resident, Ms. Jamila Hamilton said that that her observance of Earth Hour can help her educate the students that she teaches. “Since I’m a teacher it would be very [beneficial] to me and also to help my kids along with saving the Earth… You always hear about how you should help save the environment but tonight [we] got a better understanding on how important it is,” she said.
The event, which was planned by the Bartica Town Council, featured a number of cultural and musical performances. Additional Earth Hour events were held in Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four), East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six), Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine), and Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region Ten).