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dr colin hudson
February 23 CERN (Press release)
By Caribbean Environmental Reporters'
GREENWIRE-Colin Hudson, developer of the sugar cane harvester and environmentalist,
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, February 23, CERN - Dr. Colin Hudson, British-born
Barbadian environmentalist and innovative scientist, acknowledged internationally
as a key developer of the modern sugar cane harvester, died in Barbados
According to radio reports, Hudson, 68, died as he was preparing to
lead his weekly early-morning hikes around Barbados to educate dozens
of Barbadians and visitors on local culture and environment.
No further details surrounding his death were immediately available.
In 1961, Hudson came to Barbados to work initially on sugar cane agronomy
after studying agronomy at Cambridge University. He later immigrated,
completing a prize-winning doctorate at the University of the West Indies
in 1968 and working with the acclaimed Barbadian agriculturalist and
biologist, the late Graham Gooding.
Hudson's friend of 35 years, agriculturalist Keith
Laurie, told CBC Television Monday that Hudson saw the need for
mechanisation in the sugar industry and shifted his focus from agronomy
to technology, developing a harvester for sugar cane.
Forming the company, Carib Agro-Industries Limited, Hudson invented
harvesters for sugar, yam and cassava and obtained 20 patents for his
machines which were used around the world. In honour of his acheivement,
he was awarded membership of the Barbados Association of Professional
Engineers although the inventor was not a certified engineer, Laurie
Widely known as a tireless and fertile source of ideas, information
and inventions, Hudson wrote more than 200 papers during a 43-year career
in agronomy, engineering and environmentalism.
In 1994, the Barbados Governor General and NGO leader, Dame
Nita Barrow, urged him to create an exposition of low-cost sustainable
technologies to coincide with the landmark United Nations conference
on the sustainable development of small island developing states (SIDS).
"[The Village of Hope] was one
of his greatest creations", said Laurie who worked with Hudson
to develop an eco-farm exhibit, a model organic farm on grounds near
the conference site. He said exhibit attracted 2500 school children.
"The exhibit was solution-oriented," said United Nations
Assistant Secretary-General Miles Stoby, one of the figures behind the
1994 SIDS conference. "[The Village of Hope focussed] on many of
the sustainable development challenges islands faced and some of the
simple decisions we need to take to heal the planet. The UN family is
deeply indebted to Dr. Hudson for his contribution to global sustainable
Hudson's dreams of a permanent home for
the Village of Hope led to the creation of the Future Centre Trust at
his Edgehill Plantation home in central Barbados.
"He threw his whole enthusiasm and passion into it," said
Laurie, adding that Hudson was concerned with the unsustainability of
modern Barbadian lifestyles and urging that development leave a "smaller
footprint" on the environment.
In 1993, he warned against the pace of development, noting that the
106-thousand acre island had lost more land to irreversible development
in the 30 years since Independence than in the 350 years since settlement
in the seventeenth century.
"The Exhibition of Hope, which we have put together in Barbados,
shows that the solutions for a better world are there," said Hudson
in 2002, shortly before mounting a similar exhibition in South Africa
to coincide with World Summit on Sustainable Development. "The
challenge is to strengthen the Web of Hope through which the solutions
are made known to the world and applied," he added.
Hudson's wish was that a road-show would tour the British Isles and
provide the blueprint for similar projects to be repeated around the
His weekly expeditions, begun as a project of the Barbados National
Trust, also led to the creation of Treading Lightly, an organisation
dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to development problems and
to perpetuate the walking tours.
The sustainable development organisation, Counterpart Caribbean, later
took over responsibility for the Future Centre Trust.
In a statement released Monday, Chairman Dr. Basil Springer, said Counterpart
Caribbean was in the process of developing the centre into a "fully
fledged educational and recreational tourism attraction for the benefit
of children, residents and tourists alike, that will foster holistic
sustainable development in the years to come, will ensure that Dr. Hudson's
legacy is remembered and valued, especially among the youth of Barbados
and the wider Caribbean."
Lelei LeLaulu, the head of Counterpart International, who as a UN official
helped organise the Barbados SIDS conference, said Dr. Hudson's death
was a "difficult loss" that would have an impact far beyond
"Dr. Hudson represented a bright light in the dark decisions that
are being made globally that degrade planet Earth. His passion, energy
and genius will be remembered and even more highly valued in the years
ahead," said LeLaulu.
Laurie said he was constantly inspired and set on a new path of discovery
because of the innovator's "active" brain.
"He was also very involved in solar energy.... In the last few
weeks he was able to build a house [out] of a tree..."
Hudson was awarded Barbados's third-highest national honour, the Gold
Crown of Merit (GCM), in 1995 for his contribution to the sugar cane
agriculture and the environment. He also received the Guinness Award
for Scientific Achievement in 1982.
"He was a modest person and a totally delightful man," said
Laurie of the soft-spoken, mild-mannered innovator. "How we are
going to replace him God only knows."
Hudson, who was single, leaves to mourn his father and two siblings.
Copyright 2004 CERN