Trinidad and Tobago has been experiencing its share of backlash from environmental problems such as the drought earlier this year and the current incessant rains that have resulted in floods, landslides and death.
Every measure must be taken by man now to rescue the environment from mankind because unless things turn around quickly the earth will destroy us all. As far gone as things are every little bit will help and each person can do something towards preserving the environment and saving ourselves.
The Showtime Trinidad Mas Band is seeking to play a part in preserving the environment through its 2011 presentation titled, 007 Colours of Green: Our Mission—Save the Environment. We know the first question you have. What on God's green earth does the secret agent 007 have to do with saving the environment?
The band's founder and leader, Godfrey Enile explained to the Express that at this point the complete destruction of the environment is near the point of no return and the mission to save the planet must not fail because if we do not succeed there is no second chance at survival.
"The movie character, 007 is a secret agent that has never failed in any of the missions he has been sent out on. He was always successful in achieving whatever he set out to accomplish. We are at a state globally where unless we get it right, there may not be another chance to save the planet from all we have done to damage the environment."
Enile and the members of his production team are hoping to through their mas, to raise awareness of the need for Trinbagonians to act now in any small measure to save the environment. The decision to do this through the mas band came a while back when they realised mas can be a platform to deliver messages that will encourage the public at large to make positive changes to their lifestyles.
When Enile and associates looked at films such as The Eleventh Hour, which explored how badly damaged the planet is and how near it is to death, they decided that Showtime had to be a vehicle through which public awareness of the need to do whatever one can to contribute towards saving the environment can be raised.
"We should all be on this mission to save the environment. Simple things can be done towards achieving this. We are each responsible for the size of our carbon footprint and by changing living habits just a little we can reduce this. We can also engage in domestic recycling, which is yet to happen here and we will be lobbying to have it introduced as law as we continue to focus on the environment even after Carnival next year," Enile said.
A person's carbon footprint is the sum of all emissions of carbon dioxide, which were induced by that person's activities in a given time frame, usually a year. To explain in detail when you drive a car the engine burns fuel which creates a certain amount of carbon dioxide (co2), depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance contributes to the size of your carbon footprint. The amount of electricity used and when you buy food and other items, the production of these also adds to the size of the footprint.
Even before getting the band prepared for its launch on Sunday at the Zen Nightclub, Enile and members of Showtime participated in a clean-up of the Mayaro Beach on June 6 during an event called Sandsplash. This is an annual event hosted by an environmental organisation that goes out and cleans beaches and other places working alongside volunteers.
Enile said he was shocked by the huge amount of garbage and debris they cleared from the beach and this further inspired him to get his project going. At the launch Showtime will not only present costumes for its 2011 presentation, but they will also launch their Green Carpet Initiative. Patrons will be invited to sign a scroll pledging they will each make a personal conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint in the coming year.
The project will also see Showtime producing a television series through which it will educate members of the public on the adverse effects man's behaviour and habits have had on the environment. The series will see Showtime going out on the streets of the two cities as well as in communities across the island speaking with members of the public.
Showtime will also go into the primary and secondary schools to do lectures on the environment. Enile said he is hoping to link with the organisations that do the soca music school tours during Carnival so they can present to the pupils what he calls an edutainment package. This edutainment package, Enile said, will also be featured in all Showtime events and he is hoping that other mas producers and people in the entertainment arena such as artistes will get involved in the project.
Another part of the project is Showtime's plan to plant trees at various parts of the island during the course of next year. Proceeds from each costume sold for Colours of Green: Our Mission – Save the Environment will be used to purchase the saplings. Enile said when he approached the Ministry of Agriculture for guidance on how to go about with the tree planting project a member of staff there told him it makes no sense to just plant trees and leave them to grow on their own because all they will be doing is, "planting trees to die."
"The person at the ministry advised us that the saplings will need to be nurtured after they are planted so they will survive. He told us to do this project in tandem with an eco organisation and the Ministry will provide us with information on what trees to plant, where to plant them and when the best time to plant them is," Enile said.
Enile is hoping to see domestic recycling introduced in Trinidad soon and he is prepared to lobby the government to have legislation on this established. By domestic recycling, Enile means that households will be obligated to separate their garbage into two or three bins such as glass, paper/plastics and biodegradables to be picked up and taken to the recycling plants.
"We must get into domestic recycling. People also have to look at how they dispose of things like electronics, computers, cell phones and also how we deal with toxic waste, even reducing the amount of paper used in offices will help. Yes Trinidad is a dot on the global map, but every little bit helps. If everybody does a little we will be okay. Imagine people are dying today of illnesses that you once had to be elderly to be killed by it," Enile said.
As for the band, Enile said Showtime is using some biodegradable and some recyclable materials in the construction of their costumes. He would have liked to use only such materials, but it is too costly for now. The band is presenting 15 sections with names such as Green, Lost Tribe, Octopussy, Summer and For The Living Daylights.
Competing in the Large Band category Showtime is catering for up to 2,000 masqueraders. Enile is hoping each masquerader will get involved in the tree planting project and also become a spokesperson for the environment. "The idea is to develop the mental status of the people and get it to them that we are in trouble and need to act now. We are hitting hard and no one will miss our message," Enile said.