Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has asked for ‘An Ode to the Environment’ to be formally introduced into the education curriculum.
While giving her tribute to the late Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford in Parliament Thursday afternoon, Mottley said she believed the 30-year-old poem should be taught in schools as it will become paramount to their future.
“I am asking for it to be formally included in our curriculum and I don’t think we should exclude our primary school children from having a first crack at it but then our secondary school students can have a more mature opportunity to reflect on it. Regrettably, the world in which they live will literally be one that requires this knowledge and discernment.”
After reciting the 442 word piece to all of the Ministers and Members of Parliament in attendance, Mottley sought to deconstruct the poem in order to show how it related to our world today.
“At the global level, yes we must change our ways and square the circle. I can even take it (the poem) and apply it to our own Government when I talk about deconstructing to reconstruct, a nation born in postmodern times 400 years in a year’s time, cannot do things the same way.”
Mottley continued saying “For those of us who choose to live in the shadows of great men and women that went before without being able to separate values and context from reality and a need for decisions appropriate for the time will come to understand that we do ourselves no favour. Further than that, you hurt the chances of us being able to go forwards.”
This decision comes off the back of her announcement last Friday during Sir Lloyd’s state funeral that the poem will be enshrined in a public place with the words of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA). The BPOA is a policy document that both comprehensively addresses the economic, environmental and social developmental vulnerabilities facing islands and outlines a strategy that seeks to mitigate those vulnerabilities.
Mottley said: “It should be done so that those that come (to the island) will understand that what we do today is not beating virgin territory but is part and parcel of a continuum from great and proud people. We understand that in spite of us being that smallest rock in the Atlantic Ocean, that we have a duty always to play a part in saving the planet on which we live.”
She added Thursday: “I have already spoken to the Minister of Environment (Adrian Forde) to work with us to have in place that Ode and it may well be the National Botanical Gardens as well as the Barbados Programme of Action so that those who visit will always be able to read both.”
‘An Ode to the Environment’ was penned by the late Prime Minister Sir Lloyd when he addressed the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 12, 1992. (JC)