Belize launched Energy awareness week yesterday. The Ministry of Natural Resources in collaboration with other CARICOM countries has formulated a week of activities aimed at raising national awareness on the careful use of energy and the resources used for making energy available in people’s everyday life. During this week, people will be educated in various aspects of sustainable use of energy as well as the importance of energy in our modern lives. Activities will also focus on creating awareness on ways to avoid waste of energy, current forms and future options for the provision and use of energy in the country, and how these processes may enable residents to save money. Dr. Paul Flowers, Director of the Policy Unit within the Ministry of Natural Resources explains more.

Dr. Paul Flowers, Policy and Planning Advisor
Belize typically is called carbon sync because of our 69% standing forest; we absorbed more carbon energy than we are emitting. However, the rest of the world, like other developing countries, there are not doing that and as a result we are what you call uniquely vulnerable to the issues that comes with this changing climate. There is going to be an increase in storm and an increase in the frequency and the volatility of hurricanes for us, to bring it home. One of the most dangerous ones is the warming of the ocean and rising of the tides. The polar-caps are melting, the waters are rising and the overall temperature is rising and this has the danger of destroying the coral reefs and really destroying the entire reef structure, which is the hallmark of what Belize is. Also, if the water continues to rise then the salt water will invade our own freshwater resources and we are going to have water problems and notwithstanding the constant damage that comes from hurricanes for us to start over and over. We are uniquely vulnerable and we need to make a statement locally and internationally to say that we are not going to allow this type of escalating use of fossil fuel energy to destroy our very livelihood.

CEO for the ministry of Public Utilities, John Mencias, gave the key note address. He outlined the need for energy efficiency and independency.

John Mencias, CEO, Ministry of Public Utilities
The World Economic Council World’s Energy Insight 2010 states “Energy services have a profound effect on productivity, health, education, safe water and communication services. Countless studies have shown a strong correlation between access to energy and social and economic development such as life expectances, infant mortality rates and GTP per capital. Energy then, is an indispensable ingredient for growth, prosperity and social equity within and across nations. While we look to the future with much anticipation, we do not wait for it to happen; we cannot simply wish for the future to save us from the present, we must face the realities of the present. Belize faces particular changes with producing and delivering energy. However, we must look to the other opportunities that we have.

Energy Awareness week is being observed under the theme, “A clean low carbon sustainable and secure energy future for CARICOM”.