Earthly Desires

The image in this post may look familiar to some of you. It’s the same image that was used in Leonardo Dicaprio’s documentary “Beyond the Flood.” His documentary focused on climate change and the anthropogenic forces that have exacerbated this very pressing worldwide phenomenon. Leonardo was fortunate as a child to have a father who was an artist and he was therefore exposed to a range of paintings and drawings. One such notable one that stood out to him as a child is the image above entitled ” The Garden of Earthly Desires” by Hieronymus Bosch c. 1495–1505. The painter originated from the Netherlands and was often described as a moralist who didn’t sugarcoat the realities of mankind’s presence and it’s undesirable impacts on nature. Most of his work used Biblical characters and this is of no surprise being from an era deeply enshrined in Catholicism ideals at the time. Nonetheless, regardless of religious persuasions one could agree that Bosch had a foresight of the world and what it would eventually become. The painting depicts exactly what the world started off as -pure, unspoiled natural beauty with little influence of human exploitation which eventually overtime because of mismanagement of resources, greed and corruption faced by many nations, everything seemingly goes awry.

The image also resonates deep with me; as a child I often thought that my country was paradise and I felt fortunate to belong to this twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago of 1.4 million inhabitants. Although I grew up on the outskirts of the capital and what would be considered urban, I had many fond memories growing up; climbing the guava tree in the back of the house, picking and eating worm infested guavas straight off the tree (mmm…great source of protein), playing cricket with the neighbours, riding my bicycle falling off many times but determined to catch up to my older brother. There were times when my brother and I would dip our heads in the barrel of water to see who could hold their breaths longer, or sometimes we may walk a stone’s throw away with our parents to the Queen’s Park Savannah to play or go for a sno-cone treat. Being near the city also had its advantages of being immersed in cultural traditions such as Carnival where my brother and I would accompany our younger sister to the Kiddies Carnival parade in her individual costume. Growing up I also looked forward to those weekend getaways with extended family visiting the serene beaches and quiet country sides and making mango chow with those green mangoes at the river.

Artistic rendering of children running after the ice cream bells by Rachel Heusner

As a child I could not wait to eventually grow up, find love, get married, start a family and share my childhood stories with my children. Today, on the other hand, it would seem that I journeyed into a slightly different realm. I am a young adult, in my late twenty’s, and although I found love and still consider myself a “patriotic Trini”, I feel disappointed that we as a nation of so much wealth over the years, did not progress in the way in which we could and should have.

Children playing cricket by Andrew Macara

We have crime situation spiraling out of control where cases depend on State Witnesses who have become more fearful of speaking up because of the more than likely end result of demise; an absent DNA bank and fingerprint system to catch criminals. We have the most porous borders allowing any and everyone to enter with their bad, dirty habits instead of providing a good example of what is expected upon arrival to this country. Where laws are not enacted nor enforced and it has become a “free for all” for anyone wanting to set up a shop; no regularization or anything of the sort. We have projects with cost overruns into the billions because the right contractor was not chosen and instead nepotism was the order of the day where friends and family may be awarded the contract with an overnight company and absolutely no experience in the field. We have a Beverage Container Bill on the table, waiting to be enacted for the last 17 years, while our roadways, drains, rivers, mangroves and oceans become polluted and clogged with many plastic bottles and styrotex containers causing irreplaceable environmental harm to humans and marine animals alike. We have our historical buildings in great disrepair, which were once hallmarks of our nation. We have many buildings classified as ‘white elephants’ incomplete, unsafe for human habitation, and derelict all over the nation. Lest we not forget we have reckless, road hogs who are always in a hurry and give you 0.5 of a second to react to a green light, knowing fully well of the dangers of launching across on a green light, given the number of reckless individuals who intentionally proceed through the red traffic lights.

Needless to say; if everyone did their part, and greed was not the sole motivation for many, the world would be a better place. We know the woes that we face as a nation; everyday we are bombarded by negative news in the media and press reports. It seems like instead of getting better, it’s getting worse. I know as an individual I cannot change everything negative that is happening to the moral fabric of our country but I know I can do my small part to make a difference. Perhaps on my journey of blogging you learn something new, perhaps it inspires you to be the best version of you, or suppose one of the recommendations I make can one day be adopted by our beloved nation. I’m already observing small changes of positive progression in our society…all is not lost.

#live #love #laugh