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By Gary Best

THIS column marks the beginning of a series of articles designed to offer shared individual perspectives, targeting the general public on pathways and activities that can lead towards a good life. It is inspired by a promise made to the Guyanese people by HE Brigadier David Granger, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, on the occasion of the Opening of the 11th Parliament on 10th June, 2015.

From the onset, a discussion on the challenges surrounding the meanings, definitions, viewpoints and interpretations of “A Good Life” will be facilitated. Ideas on whether a good life can be achieved through foundations of equity and/ or equality will be explored. We will investigate the concept of “balance” and /or “rebalancing” in the context of equitable access of all Guyanese to the resources of this great country.

The promise of a good life is set within the larger setting of Guyana’s Green Economy pathway. The articles will share information on the pillars of a green economy and the important sectors and policies that shape green economic thinking. A key discussion to be introduced under this head is ways and means of achieving policy integration and alignment across sectors. The concept of “greening'”will be simplified so that ordinary Guyanese will easily appreciate the term. We will discuss in some detail and provide information on the simple steps citizens can use to contribute to a green economy. These steps include greening activities by mechanics, teachers, schoolchildren, stay- at- home parents, miners, farmers, public servants, business owners, teachers and homeowners, among others.

Rear Admiral Gary Best 

Presidential Advisor on the Environment 


The articles will also simplify the “what'”about climate change and how central it is for all Guyanese to comprehend its significance in achieving a good life. In particular, we shall break down the meaning of the term climate change, demonstrating “how”citizens can participate in reducing the effects of climate change and begin the discussion on climate change administration, climate change solutions and climate change education across the length and breadth of Guyana. Key areas under this head include mainstreaming climate change solutions into citizens’ daily activities through re-zoning, maximising the use of natural sunlight and wind during building construction and designing future land sites to take full advantage of nature’s free provisions. How “green tourism” contributes to a good life will also be explored. In particular, we will discuss “greening” of our tourism industry with particular emphasis on our training institutions, tourism personnel and its linkages to climate- change solutions.

The importance of clean energy and waste management will be explored, particularly with respect to participation of the citizenry in the process. To this end, we will explore ways and means to reduce the amounts we pay on our light bills, how to conduct household energy audits, sources of clean energy, household techniques for disposing of garbage, waste- reduction and separation techniques and converting household garbage for reuse in flower and vegetable gardens. Integrating the use of information and communication technologies to improve the lives of citizens will be explored. We will present options on how the internet, radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and other technologies contribute to a good life for Guyanese.

In this regard, the articles shall point to the importance of connecting our hinterland to our coast and the numerous services government can provide to the citizens using this network.

The Good- Life promise requires human security. Therefore, a look at the national security architecture and its legacies merit some detailed examination. Citizen- oriented versus state- centric approaches to security will be discussed. Citizen’s participation in their own security is pivotal to crime breakdowns and safety improvement. A discussion on the various citizen-security programmes will be facilitated with significant overlays at the local government level. The articles will present options on how security can benefit individuals living in the smallest of communities, exploring how best to impact them in a positive manner.

Finally, the Good-Life promise must be sustainable. In this context, we plan to explore the application of best practices that would result in the Good- Life promise being enjoyed, not only by this generation, but also by all future generations. Therefore, an examination of sustainable use of our natural and non-natural resources merit discussion, together with available techniques citizens can use to make their own contributions to sustainability.

Further, a close analysis of the regenerative and assimilative capacity of our biosphere is important in order to support sustainable practices in the wider environment. The next article will look at Equality and Equity and the Pursuit of a Good Life.

(Mr Best is a retired Rear Admiral and former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force. He is an Attorney at Law and Presidential Adviser on the Environment. He holds Masters Degrees from the University of the West Indies and the University of London. His research areas include climate change governance, climate- change finance and environmental law.)

Reposted from the Guyana Chronicle
February 20, 2016

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