“We do not inherit the earth from our fathers, we borrow it from our children!” – Comment by David Brower, joint author of the book ‘Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run’, who was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace prize – www.newsociety.com
In the first decade of the 21st century, Counterpart International (operating in 60 countries) is being driven by its history (40 years) into a growing role on the world stage, a catalytic activist role in partnership with intergovernmental agencies, with international business and with other non-governmental organizations, to facilitate a more efficient use of the available resources of the First World to meet the needs of the Third World. We at Counterpart dare to hope that sooner rather than later, the peoples of both worlds will meet in One Just World of equitably shared resources. These are the words of Lelei Lelaulu, President and CEO of Counterpart International.
Counterpart Caribbean (an affiliate of Counterpart International) is a sustainable development organisation which is pursuing a mandate to develop The Future Centre concept. Sustainable development may be defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A goal of Counterpart Caribbean is to develop The Future Centre into a self-funding fully-fledged educational and recreational attraction, for the benefit of children, residents and tourists alike, which will foster holistic sustainable development in the years to come. It is an Initiative of Hope, building on the Future Centre Trust created by the late Dr Colin Hudson, with a mission ‘To stimulate awareness of, and address the need for, sustainable development in the physical, economic, social and cultural life of Barbados and the Caribbean.’ The task is far from simple or complete but considerable progress has been made.
Counterpart Caribbean is a member of the newly formed Barbados Environmental Society the members of which consist of many groups concerned about the marine and terrestrial ecological environment (the physical environment). Counterpart Caribbean’s interest also includes the social, cultural and economic environment. A stable physical environment is necessary but not sufficient for sustainable development.
If there is social instability then there is potential for unrest. We must therefore relate to the hierarchy of needs of human society (the social environment). A culture is the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours and artefacts that members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning. We must develop and treasure these (the social environment).
Poverty is inevitable without sustainable economic growth. We must therefore constantly be looking for innovative ways of diversifying the economies of the region (the economic environment).
Counterpart Caribbean is responsible for The Future Centre which consists of indoor and outdoor exhibits, mainly depicting the protection of the physical environment.
The outdoor exhibits are designed to create a pleasing horticultural ambience by developing gardens, lawns and fruit trees with a multiplicity of labeled flora and sculptures created from recycled materials. We also are developing an organic herb and vegetable tyre garden. There are interpretive murals, solar electricity, solar heating and solar cooking demonstrations and a planned Adventure Learning Area for children.
The indoor exhibits at The Future Centre depict ‘Choosing Your Future’, ‘What is Sustainability?’, ‘Coral Reef Protection’, ‘Biodiversity’, Harmonious Development’, ‘Reduce, Re-use, Recycle’, ‘Conservation of Natural Resources’, ‘Our Traditions and Culture.’ There is also a Documentation Centre with information on environmental matters.
As part of our cultural activities we have developed a bond with a number of artists in Barbados and will be holding our inaugural Annual Art Show and Auction at Whispers Art gallery, Horse Hill, St Joseph, on Saturday May 07 2005. We have also developed a linkage with the golfing community and will be holding our second Annual Golf Tournament at The Royal Westmoreland Golf Club on Wednesday September 07 2005.
In terms of the social environment, Counterpart Caribbean has been involved over the last three years with the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) which is a Counterpart International initiative. CMEx, a four-day event, and CMExPress, a shorter one-day version, are designed to expose young Caribbean media personnel to international experts in tourism and journalism with the objective of enhancing their reporting skills on the largest industry in the Caribbean and its linkages to other sectors.
To cater to the economic environment we have introduced an Incubator Concept where fledgling enterprises are housed at The Future Centre to give support to their activities in the embryonic stages of their development. These incubator enterprises include bio-diesel manufacturing, confectionery, herbal soaps & lotions and glass blowing. Other buildings on our site house welding and warehousing operations.
Counterpart Caribbean is also engaged with other members of the international Counterpart family and regional associates on consulting assignments in the areas of ‘coral reef regeneration’ and ‘research on knowledge systems’.
Counterpart Caribbean is appreciative of the assistance of our full time employees, the volunteer inputs that we have been able to garner in our development thus far, as well as the government, private sector and NGO sponsorship which we have received.