Dr. Colin Hudson

Dr. Colin Hudson was a British-born environmentalist and innovative scientist, who lived in Barbados. His acknowledgements were not only local but also international as he was seen as a crucial aspect of the development of the modern sugar cane harvester.


After studying agronomy at Cambridge University, he came to Barbados in 1961 to work in sugar cane agronomy. In 1968, he assumed permanent residence in Barbados and completed a prize-winning doctorate at the University of the West Indies, while working with Barbados' highly acclaimed agriculturalist and biologist, the late Graham Gooding.


At the Fore of Innovation

Dr. Hudson soon formed a company by the name of Carib Agro-Industries Limited. It was here that he went on to invent harvesters for sugar, yam and cassava. He acquired 20 patents for his machines which were used around the world. Despite his lack of certification as an engineer Dr. Hudson was awarded membership by the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers due to his achievement.


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 Governor General of Barbados 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).


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 world.


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.


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.


Village of Hope

With the support of Dame Nita Barrow, the then Governor General of Barbados, Dr. Hudson was able to orchestrate the birth of the Village of Hope. In 1994, this village was created during the first UN Global Conference on Sustainable Development for Small Island Developing States as a unique space to promote sustainable development. Dr. Basil Springer was invited by Dr. Hudson to be Chairman of this Trust and a team of trustees, under the visionary guidance of Dr. Hudson, initiated the Future Centre model.


The Future Centre Trust serves the purposes of an educational and scientific exhibition for people in and outside of Barbados as to the importance of our holistic environment and its resources for our children, grandchildren and their grandchildren. The Centre conducts practical demonstrations of eco-farming, permaculture, alternative energy sources, water reuses and highlights related issues pertaining to the environment and development. The Future Centre at Edgehill consists of both indoor and outdoor exhibits, also addressing global concerns that affect the entire planet and its eco-systems. The exhibits, including loss of biological diversity, global warming, genetic engineering of food, nature conservation, fresh water access, sustainable development to the tourist sector, coastal erosion and others, cover several environmental issues. As a model for other villages of hope, this Centre in Barbados can be a real inspiration to other countries, especially other small islands, as they educate and inform islanders and tourists on these issues. It is said that we do not inherit the earth from our fathers but, indeed, we borrow it from our children and the Centre can most importantly build linkages with youth. By tying up through school curriculum, a tremendous impact can be had on young people.


In 2001, the Future Centre Trust gave way to Counterpart Caribbean with Dr. Springer once again in charge. Counterpart Caribbean's vision now extends beyond Barbados to include the Caribbean and is an affiliate of Counterpart International, a 40 year-old Washington D.C. based development group with offices in 60 countries. At the Future Centre, Counterpart Caribbean is concerned with what we need to do today to preserve planet earth for future generations. The Future Centre, as an extension of Counterpart Caribbean, hopes to develop into a world-class exhibition model that can be expanded globally on a self-sustaining financial basis feasible for other small island states.


Hike Barbados

Some years ago Dr. Hudson was challenged by one of his regular hikers to walk the entire train route in one day. He took up the challenge and successfully accomplished the task at hand. This feat subsequently led to the materialization of a twenty-four mile hike that was called "The Great Train Hike".


This hike grew in popularity as locals and tourists alike would plan accordingly in an effort to be a part of such a historic hike. The event was promoted as one where hikers can choose to walk the entire route or walk to one of the original train stops along the route.


In 2004, The Great Train Hike was renamed The Colin Hudson Great Train Hike upon the death of Dr. Hudson. This renaming was as a result of the valuable contribution Dr. Hudson made to thousands of people in Barbados and the world.


Dr. Hudson's enthusiasm and intellect will be forever etched in the minds of the people of Barbados.



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