Taking the initiative one step further the association has organised “An Evening with Al Gore ,” one of the world’s foremost advocates for climate change and a cleaner environment. It takes place at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) on November 4.
TTMA president Greig Laughlin, speaking to Business Day, said Gore would speak primarily about Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean as he sees it.
“We asked him to stick to that. What we want to do is allow him to focus primarily on elements in this country,” Laughlin said.
He said his association was constantly on the lookout for new industries, because we all know that “oil and gas is finite.” So, aware of this situation, TTMA has been looking seriously at diversification of the economy.
“We’ve been advocating for a renewable energy policy in Trinidad and Tobago because we saw that in the next 50 years, Trinidad and Tobago must be into something other than oil and gas if it wishes to maintain the standard of living and GDP it now enjoys, so we need to find something to replace oil and gas,” he said.
Another related sector Laughlin mentioned was recycling – an industry his association had spoken about many times in the past. He said he was now being encouraged by the fact the government of the People’s Partnership “seems proactive” regarding such an industry.
“That’s why we are coming out with the Plastic Container and Bottle Bill, possibly by the end of October. It will go to the Minister of Environment for review and also be available for public comment and hopefully get legislation passed very early in the New Year,” he added.
“We see the cleaning up of our country as a business,” continued Laughlin, “we see recycling as very beneficial to the whole economy. Not only will we be cleaning up all the plastic in our country, little businesses will spring up everywhere for the collection of plastic.
“Then after that we go to the other Caribbean islands and bring their plastic here to our recycling plant, which would mean more Customs brokers, more dollars for the ports, more work for people in transportation. It would just open up a whole gamut of new businesses,” said Laughlin.
He said the Bottle Bill was something that legislatively needed to be done if we were to go forward and the idea has interested the Government.
“In fact the Energy Minister Mrs Carolyn Seepersad Bachan talked about our idea publicly at a recent function, so we know they’re listening to us. What we want to do is keep the issue on the front burner and one of the areas we thought would be a great idea was to have Mr Gore come to Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.
He said the Gore visit was our way of trying to look forward and be proactive, rather than reactive and get our manufacturers and all those who would attend to hear another perspective.
Laughlin said Gore would be doing a full hour of presentations and the session would be very interactive since he was prepared to answer questions from the audience.
“He’s taking up the entire stage at NAPA with huge screens with videos and power point presentations. He’s going to do a whole slew of things. He’s going to give a perspective. Whether you agree with that perspective or not is not the point. The fact of the matter is he’s giving a perspective and it’s really to make us here in Trinidad and Tobago think, manufacturers mainly, who must ask themselves, where should I be with my products five, ten 15 years from now, if I want to continue being successful in business,” said Laughlin.
Nobel Laureate Al Gore is the 45th vice-president of the United States and an author of some renown with his book “An Inconvenient Truth and Our Choice,” a best-selling book on the threat of and solutions to global warming and the subject of the movie of the same title, which has already become one of the top documentary films in history.
He is chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection and Generation Investment Management as well as Current TV, an Emmy-award winning, independently owned cable and satellite television network for young people.
Since his earliest days in the US Congress some 30 years ago, Al Gore has been the leading advocate for confronting the threat of global warming. His pioneering efforts were outlined in his best-selling book “Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit” (1992). He led the Clinton-Gore administration’s efforts to protect the environment in a way that also strengthened the economy.
And as Greig Laughlin said, “An Evening with Al Gore” is a once in a lifetime event during which Gore will show manufacturers and businesses how they can make choices to save earth’s climate, while also creating jobs and stimulating sustainable economic progress. His presentation will specifically examine issue relevant to this country.