NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (April 22, 2019) — The following is an address by Hon. Spencer Brand, Minister responsible for Physical Planning, the Environment and Water in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) to mark the observance of Earth Day 2019.
I greet you on this day, April 22nd 2019 which is designated internationally as Earth Day. This year is the 49th Anniversary and it’s a day set aside to focus on a theme to bring awareness on issues that are affecting the earth and its environment in terms of what happens in the atmosphere, water, sea and land.
This year’s theme is “Protect Our Species”. As the Minister of Physical Planning and Environment, I feel obligated to make this brief statement as we celebrate and reflect on the earth and its meaning to mankind.
In the beginning the Creator of the heavens and the earth gave human beings certain admonitions, “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over…every living thing that moves on the earth.”
However, it is safe to say that we are failing in this directive given to us by God. Today the extinction of our species is threatened by human activities in various forms such as deforestation, pollution and the use of harmful pesticides in our environment, poor waste management practices, unsustainable development activities, practices resulting in climate change and environmental degradation.
The world population is estimated at 7.53 billion people as of 2017, with a land area of 196,940 million square miles. Of this, Nevis has a population of 12,277 people according to the last census, and a land area of 36 square miles. We can therefore deduce that due to our small size our contribution to climate change and the degradation of the environment is negligible.
However, we still have an obligation to ensure that in our small space in the world there is balance in our activities which if not controlled, regulated and reversed, could cause an extinction of our species of plants, animals, insects and other living organisms, and consequently threaten our very survival. This is why despite our size it is still imperative for action from all stakeholders because every little activity, project, programme or act counts in protecting and preserving our species.
The solution to protect our species can be many but it is generally accepted that working together, public awareness, education and research; and changing our life style or practices can contribute to reversing negative trends and protect our species.
I thank and commend all the institutions, organizations and individuals who consciously engage in meaningful activities, projects and programmes to protect our species and to help heal the wounds inflicted on the earth by humanity. These include the Department of Physical Planning and Environment, the Nevis Water Department, the Department of Agriculture, the Nevis Department of Marine Resources and other government agencies. I commend and thank all the active Non- Governmental Organizations especially the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS) for their steady and significant contribution to our island, and no doubt to the Protection of our Species.
In fact I would be joining them on Tuesday 23 April 2019 to plant a tree as a small but significant gesture to not only protect our species but also to help improve the earth’s environment. As Mehmet Murat Ildan states, “there is only one way to keep ourselves alive and that is to keep earth alive”.
I pray that God would give humanity the wisdom to fulfill its duty to control and to take care of the earth so that He would be well pleased.
I wish all a Happy Earth Day! Let us continue to Protect Our Species.
Thank you, and may God bless.