A true sense of purpose in life is often found by giving back to others. The feeling of helping those in need is unmatched and heart-warming. Many organisations in Barbados have created a mandate dedicated to assisting vulnerable groups within society. Even beyond the livelihood of citizens, the health of the environment is equally as important to maintaining a sustainable Barbados to be enjoyed by future generations. Thus, programmes and initiatives of going green have increased as the threat of climate change enlarges.
Barbados’ travel and tourism businesses are doing their part to create a greener, more sustainable Barbados, and visitors with a passion for giving back are afforded many opportunities to play their part during their stay.
Over the years, Barbados has taken strides to implement sustainability projects with the three P’s at the forefront: People, Planet and Profit. The CHENACT Project of 2009-2010, implemented by the Caribbean Tourism Organization, targeted small and medium-sized hotels in Barbados and other islands with a challenge to seek more affordable and energy-efficient resources. For example:
Green Globe Company Standard is an international body performing assessments on the sustainability of tourism businesses. This certification has been attained by local hotels which have made greener steps towards the future in ways such as composting restaurant waste and using energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs. Radisson Aquatica Resort, Turtle Beach Hotel and Colony Club Hotel are among those certified.
Travel Life is another international accommodation sustainability programme, where over 1500 hotels have pledged to take a sustainable tourism approach towards their financial and social impact. Worthing Cove Apartment Hotel, Southern Palms Beach Club and Time Out Hotel are Travel Life members.
Added to what is being done by locals – charities, non-governmental organisations and small initiatives welcome visitors willing to donate their time with open arms. Where can you play your Part?
The trust was born from a Village of Hope display at the 1994 United Nations Global Conference for Small Island Developing States. The vision of sustainability would thereafter be executed feverishly by members of the Future Centre Trust leading the charge of conservation and preservation of natural resources. Volunteers can come on board to complete one of its programmes like Clean Up Barbados, Future Tres and Green Business Barbados.
Barbados’ marine life is one of its most adored attractions, with the sea turtle population of particular interest. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project is dedicated to protecting sea turtles, especially given their status on the endangered and critically endangered species list. Turtle lovers assist the project between May to November for 2-4 months, in the peak of nesting season. Helping baby turtles journey to shore, protecting nesting sites and tracking turtles are fun activities to give back to the ecosystem.
The Children’s Charity endeavours to enhance the quality of life of Barbadian children – specifically, those who are sick, mentally or physically challenged. Since its 1984 registration, Variety has made waves across Barbados with notable achievements like the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Education and play, hospital care and mobility for kids are its main programmes, and volunteers can assist by donating time or/money to helping the programmes succeed.
…is a prominent voice advocating for the health of Caribbean people. It tackles diseases and health challenges such as cancer, non-communicable diseases and alcoholism. Volunteers are given real-world experience by working on programmes and policies created to eradicate such challenges, with the fight against non-communicable diseases among men, women and children as a priority area.
…embodies the drive by the Barbados Government to support local farming. The organic approach to Barbadian food production is incredibly vital, given Barbados’ alarming rate of non-communicable diseases. The island has a culture of consuming ground provisions, and the extra push to “return to our roots” is vital. Volunteers are encouraged to exercise their green thumbs and support the educational school garden initiative, Slow Soup drive a farm to table programme.
The international organisation known for its “Service Above Self” mantra welcomes Rotarians from around the world to visit the club. Rotarians can join in on the initiatives implemented by committees like service projects and membership and youth.
The welfare of animals in Barbados is also essential to the island’s sustainable future. The charity was formed after incidences of inhumane treatment of stray dogs became topical and has since worked to educate the public on the responsibilities of owning a pet. Animal lovers can give of their time to foster a dog or cat or participate in other activities like dog walking, pet rescue and food delivery.
The Walker’s Quarry was a leading sand supplier to the island for over 50 years. Today, local farmers and other stakeholders are harnessing its rich nature to regenerate the land into a Barbadian food forest. Walker’s Reserve is now home to endangered migratory birds and assists in protecting the endangered leatherback turtle found on the East Coast. It’s most effective programme is “One Tree for Every Bajan,” which encourages Bajans and even visitors to plant indigenous trees that are needed to sustain the dune system of the reserve. Sign up to volunteer, plant a tree or make a donation of trees or to advance the work of the Reserve in creating a better Barbados.
If you’re looking to provide hope for a healthy life to an animal in need, the Hope Sanctuary is just the place. The animal shelter is dedicated to rescuing animals from unsafe spaces as well as treating and rehabilitating them for loving homes. Dogs, cats and even turtles are housed at the sanctuary, awaiting the warm touch of a new family.
The journey to a better and greener Barbados is not a road to be travelled by citizens alone, but also by visitors just as eager to see the island thrive. Through charities, small projects and initiatives, there is always room for those willing to roll up their sleeves and play their part!