Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar believes it is time the country takes the environment seriously amidst increasing natural disasters and hazards like heat spells and flooding.
Speaking at the Divali Nagar on Thursday night, she said Mother Earth is under stress, with excess heat, floods, earthquakes, fires, and other formidable natural disasters as evidence.
"Despite all our technological advances, we are falling short in our capacity to cope with and control such disasters. The very Mother Earth from whom this human body has come is tired and upset with the way we have mistreated her. She is reacting," she said.
"We must be mindful of our unsustainable behaviours that are contributing to the suffering of our human civilisation. We have become our own worst enemies.
"Amidst this real threat to our very existence, we are too slow to put into place policies and strategies to change what could very well be a destiny of human destruction. We need to be cognisant of our natural environment. We need to engage in a unity of minds and efforts to protect us all from the destruction scientists have been warning us about. We must take responsibility for our future survival.
In her address, Persad-Bissessar also said the State needs to play a greater role in developing and sustaining an enhanced cultural environment across the board, "including the very successful ones like the Divali Nagar.
"She said there is a wide gap between different cultures in the country, particularly in understanding, respecting, and participating.
"We must work harder to close these gaps," she said. "I want to assure all cultural entities that the government I will lead again will support your cultural work.
"She said when she returns to government, she will ensure that both Ramleela and Divali are marketed as tourism products and attractions on the international stage.
She said it would happen with the help and vision of the NCIC and others.