IN OBSERVANCE OF WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
BY DR. THE HONOURABLE KEDRICK PICKERING
MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND LABOUR
Good day my fellow Virgin Islanders. Today I address you on the occasion of the worldwide celebration of the 40th Anniversary of World Environment Day and the commencement of Environment Month celebrations within the Territory.
Since 1972, the United Nations has set aside the 5th of June as a day to emphasise and encourage positive environmental action across the globe. Environment Month, organized annually by the Conservation and Fisheries Department, is a continuation of World Environment Day and seeks to augment the momentum set by the United Nations by promoting environmental awareness and action throughout the Territory. This year, World Environment Day, and by extension Environment Month are being celebrated under the theme, “Green Economy: Does it include you?”
The United Nations defines a Green Economy as 'one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities’. In essence, a Green Economy is one in which our economic development, is driven by a development framework that is grounded in sustainability. Reduction of pollution, improved efficiency in the use of energy and our natural resources and the adoption of healthier lifestyle habits are some of the key building blocks to a Green Economy.
Our national income and employment have suffered from the effects of the global economic crisis, and adapting a more sustainable approach to doing business is important if we are to remain buoyant during these trying times. As a Government we recognize that sustainability can only be achieved through careful and deliberate actions to ensure resource efficiency. This is not a job just for Government however, every member of this society is critical to the realization of a Green Economy.
A Green Economy most certainly includes you. Conducting an energy audit in your home or business to reduce your building’s climate footprint will lead to significant savings in energy costs. If you are carrying out home improvements or landscaping, seek out construction companies that can carry out low impact construction or use local and drought resistant vegetation to reduce your use of water.
Fishermen can help to stop depletion of future fish stocks by carrying out sustainable fishing practices, such as inserting biodegradable fish panels in their fish pots and refraining from the catch of undersized fish and other marine animals, such as conch and lobster.
Deforestation accounts for close to 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce your demand for paper products by using electronic files and recycling used paper. In your bathrooms and kitchens, use hand and kitchen towels instead of paper towel.
Encourage good health and reduce congestion and pollution by walking or riding a bike for short trips. We can strengthen our sense of community by carpooling. This also reduces environmental impacts and the economic costs associated with high fuel costs.
Millions of people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water or improved sanitation services and as the world population continues to increase this problem will worsen if water is not used conservatively. Limit your shower time and turn off your tap when you are not using it.
Support your local farmers, eat local fruits that are in season or grow a backyard food garden to ensure our ability to feed everyone and reduce our dependency on food imports.
In a world of growing energy needs our current mainstream energy sources of oil, coal and gas are not only harmful to our health and the environment but they are also not sustainable. As we continue to investigate and incorporate renewable energies, look at ways in which you can improve your own energy efficiency such as hanging your laundry outside and turning off lights and unplugging appliances when you are not using them.
Reduce the amount of garbage entering the waste stream by re- using appropriate materials such as glass and paper or composting food waste.
Take positive action and participate in our transformation to a Green Economy. The Conservation and Fisheries Department has started the Green Pledge Initiative and I encourage you to make a Pledge to reduce your environmental impact and receive the Department’s Green Seal. I also encourage your participation in other activities that the Department has planned for Environment Month or you may plan activities of your own.
It is my pleasure to officially declare Environment Month open. Thank you, God bless you and God bless these Virgin Islands.
TERRITORY'S FIRST GREEN MATTERS EXPO
“A SUCCESS” SAY ORGANISERS
Organisers of the one-day “Green Matters” exposition hosted by the Conservation and Fisheries Department deemed the event “a huge success” as the department’s goals to educate the public was achieved.
Conservation and Fisheries Department, Professional Cadet and Chairperson for the exposition Ms. Pearline George, speaking with the Department of Information and Public Relations said, “The Green Matters exposition, which was held for the first time in the Territory, was a huge success as the department’s goals to sensitise the public on all environmental matters and highlight the role of the department was indeed fulfilled.”
“We at the department are extremely pleased with the turnout of students and members of the public who joined us and other partnering agencies in our mission to save the environment doing their part in going green, keeping in mind this year’s theme for Environment Month “Green Economy: Does it include you?,” Ms. George expressed.
“We wish to thank the BVI Elite Sky Dancers, DJ Bertrum, the schools, partnering agencies and all other persons who not only participated but supported this event. We also wish to thank all our sponsors which included Sol, Foxy's Restaurant and Bar, Mr. Myers from the Elmore Stoutt High School, Fort Gardens Center Ltd. and Burkes Garage.” Ms. George concluded.
The entire day was filled with fun and facts included facial decorations and face painting for children, turtle tagging and fishing methods demonstrations, climate change displays, solar system displays, plant displays, methods of conserving energy, wood work displays, mocko jumbie performances, a presentation from World House Caribbean and modeling of clothing and jewelry made from recycled material.
Students from St. George’s, First Impressions, Alexandrina Maduro, Ebenezer Thomas Primary Schools, New Testament Church of God School and the Wendell Potter Learning Center were among persons present at the expo.
Partnering agencies for the exposition included BVI Electricity Corporation, Department of Agriculture, National Parks Trust, Alternative Energy Systems, World House Caribbean, Green VI, UNI - Davis Exclusive Lighting, Caribbean Youth Environment Network and Mr. Eldred Scatliffe who presented a Wood Work Recycling Display.
Activities for the observance of Environment Month will continue on Wednesday, June 13 with the Parade for the Planet beginning at 3:30 pm and a Sunset Service at Cane Garden Bay on Saturday, June 30 at 5:30 pm.
As a wrap-up to the month’s activities, Fisherman’s Day will be celebrated on Monday, July 2 at Long Bay Beef Island Beach where fisherfolks can participate in a fishing tournament.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour and the Conservation and Fisheries Department endeavour to effectively manage and administer the natural resources of the Territory in a manner that ensures long term sustainability. Environment Month has been celebrated annually in the Territory since 1993 and aims to bring awareness to the public about the importance of preserving the environment.