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Postcard from Trinidad and Tabago

Seeing and hearing about climate in small societies and countries.

Manuel Pantin

Trinidad’s colourful poui trees now display their pink and yellow leaves throughout the year instead of only during the rainy season from November to March. Global warming has altered weather patterns all over the world and sea levels have risen as polar ice melts. Daily temperatures have increased caused by the excessive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from vehicles and industries.

Trinidad and Tobago with its abundant hydrocarbon resources has become one of the most prosperous countries in the Caribbean. Its streets and highways are clogged with heavy traffic every day. On cloudy days, the emission from vehicles cannot escape creating grey smog. “This is progress and no one can deny the price of progress is high,” sang a Calysponian.

Material prosperity has brought about physical and social changes like overcrowding and rising crime. The herd mentality is strong, encourages mass mediocrity and stifles individualism. Many prefer the madding crowd feeling safer is such an environment. On Trinidad and Tabago, the herd dislikes and rejects outsiders.

According to evolution theory, living entities adapt to their environment to ensure their survival. Social evolution demands conformity with mass culture to avoid social suicide. This pressure is stronger in small societies. But strong–minded individuals can drop out of this social trap by preferring to live in isolation without many material possessions and the dubious approval of their peers.

Manuel Pantín is a writer and journalist in Trinidad. He writes a column for the Weekend Mirror.

Image by Linda Gelfman, "Unidentified Tourist", Old Ft. Jackson, Savannah GA, color photograph, 2015.

Copyright © Manuel Pantin. All rights reserved.