Trinidad Journal: Drummit2Summit Launches Sustainability First Initiative


Faced with the prospect of rapidly depleting natural resources globally, there are renewed calls to find alternate sources of energy and viable ways of sustaining the environment. But oftentimes the calls go unheeded, noticeably so in Trinidad and Tobago, host of the recently concluded Fifth Summit of the Americas. Hence the reason Drummit2Summit launched its Sustainability First Initiative.

Initially conceived prior to the opening of the Fifth Summit of the Americas, Drummit2Summit is the shortened version of "Drumming Truth to Summit of the Americas." According to Cathal Healy-Singh, Environmental Engineer and co-organizer of the event, "We found this necessary because Summit themes - energy security, environmental sustainability and prosperity' - are laughable (or cryable, depending on your mood) here in Trinidad and Tobago. We have binge economy driven by 'corporatist state'. There is no energy security here ... no plan to transition to renewable energy. Our water is being further privatized through introduction of desalination plants which will operate for profit. Presently, water supplied by the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) is a 'right' but 60% of supply leaks out of the system before reaching consumers. Service is poor...As for prosperity, there is as you know a powerful wealthy elite here. The middle classes - not sure, they are lying low and hanging on behind burglar bars. Everywhere there are poor, almost poor, destitute and deranged persons."

Thus far, the government of Trinidad and Tobago has been non-responsive to the Drummit2Summit movement. But still the activists persist in their efforts, focusing on water, food, energy, land, and 'culture' - hence the drumming. They've adopted the model of 'Sustainability First' as outlined by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), regarded as one of the scenarios for the future of human kind. What distinguishes "Sustainability First" is that society and ecology sit as equals with finance at the table.

I pressed Cathal Healy-Singh about projections for the future. He added, "Our long-term goal is to guild a national community based on shared values for our natural resources and each other. There is no national community here. Like a crowd that gathers and disperses, last time a national community appeared was when Soca Warriors went to Germany."