MINISTER of the Environment Ken Dorsett underscored the importance of research, conservation and environmental stewardship as he opened the Bahamas National Natural History Conference at the College of the Bahamas yesterday.
Mr Dorsett said that good stewardship of the environment is near and dear to him.
Even before taking office, the minister said, he had a great interest in the preservation of the Bahamian envionment.
“I have committed myself and my ministry to beginning an aggressive campaign to encourage and inform Bahamians about the benefits of conservation to our environment and ourselves.
“I am also committed to the launching of an environmental magazine produced by my ministry in which some of your research papers can be featured.
“My goal is to showcase, in one publication, the great environmental work that is being done across the nation by agencies such as the Bahamas National Trust, the Nature Conservancy and the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF) as well as the government and others,” he said.
“We can not take for granted that everyone knows or even understands the work that we are doing in this country in the realm of conservation, preservation, research and other environmental concerns. I believe that once there is buy-in to the importance of this work by our citizens, it will lighten our load as no doubt more people would see the merit in our endeavours and join the cause.
“It heartens me to see the collaboration between the Bahamas National Trust and the College of the Bahamas in the organisation of a conference promoting the importance of research, conservation and environmental stewardship.
“It is an obvious match given the research that is conducted by and through both institutions. It also demonstrates that we are advancing in our cause of bringing awareness to the nation of the environment and the importance of its preservation. I certainly hope that this match is not a one time occurrence.
“The quest for knowledge of and the awareness of the need to preserve our environment must spread and those of us that know of its fragility and necessity must be the ones to carry the news to those who do not know,” he said.
Mr Dorsett noted that for some time now, researchers have come to the Bahamas to conduct studies on various topics. However, he said, the outcome of their efforts seem to hardly ever see the light of day.
“If it does it is not given the amount of light that it deserves. There is no doubt that the need for research in our country is great not only in the natural sciences, but in other areas such as the social sciences, history and economics.
“Just as important is analysis of and access to research findings and the implementation of such findings and conclusions where it is warranted. We must as a nation, in all spheres and sectors, especially in government, base our decisions on concrete information and data.
“When this is done we would be assured that we are headed in the right direction in our development, addressing the issues that need be addressed in the way that is most effective.
“Research such as those highlighted at this conference is so important to the preservation of our ecosystems, wetlands and marine life such as the Nassau Grouper and Spiny Lobster which are not only economically but ecologically important to the Bahamas.
“We must all do more to educate Bahamians of the research being conducted in the Bahamas and its significance to their lives and the preservation of what we have today for the enjoyment and purposeful use of future generations.”