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10 Easy Tips to a Healthy World

Cooper Island – best practice for sustainability in action for a resort

Cooper Island – best practice for sustainability in action for a resort

10 Simple Actions toward a Greener, Cleaner and Healthier BVI

By Charlotte McDevitt, Executive Director – Green VI

It has been said “the earth does not need us – we need the earth.” This pragmatic statement may seem like an obvious over-simplification, but our current behaviours indicate that we do not link the consequences of our daily actions to the bigger problems humanity faces. Problems such as climate change, inequality, shortage of landfill areas, polluting our water and the air we breathe, thereby leaving this challenging legacy to our children for their generation to clean up.

The term sustainable development, as defined by the Brundtland Commission in its 1987 report “Our Common Future”, is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

What does this mean for the BVI and how can we set about applying these concepts in our daily lives?

It’s easier than you think and, more often than not, it’s cheaper:

“We've discovered Eco-Me products, an alternative line of cleaning products that are extremely effective, reasonably priced and best of all, they are made with plant based ingredients so they are healthy for you and your environment. Eco-Me will always be on our shelves at Nutmeg Designs.” – Annie MacPhail, Nutmeg Designs Owner

“We’ve discovered Eco-Me products, an alternative line of cleaning products that are extremely effective, reasonably priced and best of all, they are made with plant based ingredients so they are healthy for you and your environment. Eco-Me will always be on our shelves at Nutmeg Designs.” – Annie MacPhail, Nutmeg Designs Owner

(2)      Is all this packaging really necessary? Select items that minimise packaging and take your reusable grocery bags to the store in order to reduce waste. Avoid single-use disposable plastic bottles and styrofoam containers

TradeWinds Yachts: 2013 Save the Blue award winner. Uses biodegradable cleaning agents and encourages Reefsafe products. Discreetly placed solar panels assist in boosting energy levels. Fitted with rain catchers. Biodegradeable corn bags are used in place of traditional black plastic bags. Hygienic aluminum bottles are used instead of plastic bottles. Filtration system produces drinking water

TradeWinds Yachts: 2013 Save the Blue award winner. Uses biodegradable cleaning agents and encourages Reefsafe products. Discreetly placed solar panels assist in boosting energy levels. Fitted with rain catchers. Biodegradeable corn bags are used in place of traditional black plastic bags. Hygienic aluminum bottles are used instead of plastic bottles. Filtration system produces drinking water

(3)      Does this have to be thrown away or can it be used as a resource to make something else? Vegetable peelings can easily be composted to become potting mix for your houseplants. Quite a lot of your trash can be turned into treasure – jewellery, lamp shades, furniture and much more. Formal recycling will soon be arriving in the BVI, so be ready to recycle

(4)      Can this be repaired? There are options in the BVI for repair of appliances as well as shoes, bags and clothing. Simple repairs can extend the life of items and help to reduce waste. You can also refill ink cartridges on Tortola instead of throwing away old cartridges

Green VI’s Glass Studio – converting “trash to treasure.” Glass bottles become works of art, old cooking oil becomes a fuel source, and old t-shirts become packaging

Green VI’s Glass Studio – converting “trash to treasure.” Glass bottles become works of art, old cooking oil becomes a fuel source, and old t-shirts become packaging

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(5)      Use only energy efficient appliances and light fixtures – LED is the preferred choice. Consider using renewable energy in your home or business as legislation that currently restricts renewables, will soon be a thing of the past

(6) Take the time to clean and maintain your cisterns so as to maximise the use of rainwater. Consider using aerators on your taps, and water displacers in toilets to reduce water consumption

BVI Boat Show and Spring Regatta ‘green’ their events and encourage sailors to adopt sustainable practices

BVI Boat Show and Spring Regatta ‘green’ their events and encourage sailors to adopt sustainable practices

(7) Use only cleaners that are environmentally friendly or, make your own. Select eco-friendly paints and minimise harmful chemicals wherever possible. This reduces the amount of toxins dumped into the earth’s systems – toxins that inevitably find their way back into our bodies

(8)      Educate yourself, your co-workers and others about the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle

Getting ready to convert bottles to aggregate – Virgin Gorda recycler’s Glass Imploder

Getting ready to convert bottles to aggregate – Virgin Gorda recycler’s Glass Imploder

(9)      Join the BVI Sustainability Network or commit to signing up for Conservation and Fisheries Green Pledge bvidef.org and do your bit towards achieving a sustainable BVI

Learn what others are doing and join the next meeting. Watch the press for details

Learn what others are doing and join the next meeting. Watch the press for details

(10)   Be an ambassador for protecting the quality of our lives – there is some excellent work being done in the BVI that can inspire you to take action. See what individuals, businesses and the Government are doing at greenvi.org or bvidef.org

Charlotte McDevitt

Charlotte McDevitt

Executive Director at Green VI
Charlotte is the executive director of Green VI, a non-profit organisation that works toward a greener, cleaner and healthier BVI, finding balance between development and conservation of the natural environment.
Charlotte McDevitt
Charlotte McDevitt

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