Trinidad and Tobago

Birds on a boat in Trinidad and Tobago
Overview

Trinidad and Tobago is the Southernmost island in the Caribbean and is the land of steelpan, calypso, soca and the best Carnival on Earth. We also are home to a population of approximately 1.4 million people. Although we do not have a national organization specifically for the advancement of environmental education, there are a number of NGOs and civil society organisations who continue to do the work in their respective fields.

National Legislation

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Environmental Policy (2018) prioritizes environmental education under Priority 5 (Fostering an environmentally responsible society), Section 2.20 (Communication, Education and Public Participation). This section “recognises that empowering individuals to undertake environmentally responsible behaviour also requires systemic reinforcement of pro-environmental behaviours and knowledge,” which “entails continuous environmental education and public participation in environmental decision-making” (pg. 32). The policy also notes that “all environmental education in Trinidad and Tobago is in keeping with the goals, objectives and characterisations contained in the Belgrade Charter (1975), the Tbilisi Declaration (1977) and Chapter 36 or Agenda 21 (1992)” (pg. 32). Section 2.20 also lists the government’s commitment in this area, including promotion of environmental education from pre-school through adulthood, integrating sustainable development concepts into curricula, and ensuring all such efforts “encourage and facilitate the inclusion of marginalised groups such as indigenous peoples, the rural poor, children, youth, women, sick, disabled and elderly” (pg. 33).

EE in K-12 Education

Although there is no specific mention to environmental education in national curricula, the education system is said to be designed the principles of a “new Caribbean citizen of the twenty-first century,” as outlined at the 1997 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Summit. Among other qualities of a “twenty-first century Caribbean citizen,” the list includes to “be aware of the importance of living in harmony with the environment” (National Early Childhood Care & Education curriculum, pg. 31).

Professional Development

There is no certification program for environmental educators in Trinidad and Tobago, however environmental education professionals have taken opportunities to become certified through US-based groups, such as the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Educators.

EE in National Government

The Ministry of Planning and Development is responsible for environmental issues in the country, and the Environmental Management Authority initiates most environmental education efforts.

Civil Society organizations generally access funding to further their work mainly locally from the Green Fund. It is a national environmental fund of Trinidad and Tobago which is capitalized by a levy on the private sector and makes financial resources available to eligible organizations.

Funding is also obtained from the United National Development Programme Small Grants programme through the Global Environmental Facility and JB Fernandes Award. These are also open to civil society organizations only and not registered for profit or Limited Liability Companies.

See below for a number of state agencies who implement environmental education initiatives:

National EE Campaigns and Funding

Many environmental education activities are funded through the Green Fund, international funding, or fundraising through the sale of products and/or services. The Green Fund is a government-funded initiative that funds conservation, restoration, and remediation activities through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations.

Environmental education is certainly growing in Trinidad and Tobago, however there is not currently a regulating or governing body to allow professionals to connect, network, train, and becoming certified in the field. See below for a number of NGOs who implement environmental education initiatives:

Organizations

Environmental Management Authority
Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville
Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project
Green Screen Film Festival
International Year of the Reef
Marine Environment Education Programme in Trinidad and Tobago
Siel Environmental Services Limited
Solid Waste Management Company
Transforming Environmental Education Successfully (T.E.E.S)
Transforming Environmental Education Successfully (T.E.E.S.)