Keeping It Green After Quarantine
- February 28th, 2021
- in Lifestyle
If you’re reading this, congratulations! You made it through the 2020 quarantines and lockdowns and are now stepping into the light of a new year, where opportunities to be “green after quarantine” abound. So, as you make plans and resolutions for the New Year, consider the many vibrant Green VI eco-projects currently active in the Territory. They’re aimed at helping us choose a greener, cleaner, healthier way of life and they show us “where to start” in addressing climate change. Here’s a chance to take a look at what’s going on right here, right now and “get with the programme” of your choice, as we shake off the hardships of 2020 and welcome 2021.
True to its name, this is all about the “WE”, as it connects communities, businesses and government in building a BVI Recycling System. In partnership with the Department of Waste Management, WE RECYCLE will divert 50% of our waste stream – glass, plastic, aluminium and yard waste – from incineration and landfill and upcycle these resources to create products and jobs. “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle” education is delivered through presentations, school lesson plans, door-to-door outreach and media campaigns, while an app provides the location of 51 public Recycling Bins and tracks the overall success of the System.
It might sound like a slang term or a new dance craze but, here in the BVI, it’s an innovative, community-driven Vector Control Programme that significantly reduces the number of mosquitoes that carry diseases such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya by implementing safe, targeted vector control with aggressive source reduction, smart monitoring, and rapid response to threats. The BUGOUT! programme also provides education, engagement, and empowerment to motivate citizens and inspire actions that reduce vector threats at home, work, church, school and public spaces.
This programme is the best way to promote your business as a recognised eco-friendly, environmentally conscientious company. Developed in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources, the programme incentivizes businesses to adopt best green practices and provides customised checklists, training, recycling collections and community engagement opportunities. Members can attain Gold, Silver, Bronze or Leadership Certification, and a Green Fund for education and outreach is also part of this dynamic private sector project.
Garden Projects took root at five schools in 2019 and a rejuvenation plan was put in place when COVID closings eased. The gardens foster connections to nature, food security, and carbon footprint reduction and provide Lesson Plans in the school curriculum for propagating and maintaining a sustainable garden, marketing produce, reviving traditions and upcycling organics into compost.
Green VI partnered with the Departments of Waste Management and Agriculture and local farmers to create this programme. Wood chippers on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost van Dyke reduce bush and tree cuttings to mulch for covering soil to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and improve the soil’s structure, drainage, and nutrient-holding capacity. Also, through the project, the Public Works Department will mulch roadside waste for soil regeneration, water retention and overall support for local agriculture.
GREEN LIVING WORKSHOPS
These are designed to get into your head, heart and home. These workshops are educational forums, in-person consultations or group training that will include a wide range of topics, such as “Going Paperless”, “Home Composting”, “Greening Your Cleaning” and “Shrinking Your Light Bill.”
Talk about truly inspired missions! A Solar Grid Tie project to connect the public and the BVI Electricity Corporation with viable alternative energy practices is a very big step toward energy independence. Thanks to the experts at the ATEC company, both YEP and our Virgin Gorda container office have the capacity to run on solar power. With help from Rotaract/Rotary of Tortola, the sun is also powering a Sunew Solar Tree in the Positive Action Movement Park, where folks can sit in the tree’s shade and charge cell phones. Add the electric cars we run on Tortola and Virgin Gorda to demonstrate the practicality of this zero-emission alternative, and a future of clean, independent energy from our sunlight and wind looks a lot brighter.
Green VI encourages community stewardship of our green spaces. Persons, companies and organisations volunteer to look after a public area that may have become run down or untidy with litter and trash, or overgrown with weeds.
Protecting our fragile environment never stops, and legislation plays a critical role. We’ve helped develop two important bills that await government approval to become law. A Ban on Plastics (disposable food-ware, bags, etc.), with concurrent import duty exemption for eco-friendly alternatives, will significantly reduce plastic pollution, and a Container Deposit Bill will ensure the long-term funding needed for sustainable recycling. We also advocate Government-owned Recycling Centres, with operations outsourced to local contractors, and a shift in thinking to Materials Management, whereby waste is considered to be a resource. For example, recycled plastic is now used to manufacture polywood and crushed glass is used in construction.
The backbone of Green VI’s work, our working relationships range from one-on-one time with young volunteers to Memorandums of Understanding with Government. We happily count both local and international non-profits among our colleagues and readily turn to leaders in the field for best practices and innovation. Communities, companies, government and YOU are all part of the plan to make a better BVI.
ARE YOU IN?
Whatever support you can give – hands-on volunteering, lending a voice to advocacy, donating money or expertise or simply passing on the message – it’s all much appreciated and it all makes a difference in how we can live better and be better. For 11 years, Green VI, as a local non-profit, has been engaged in the formidable task of influencing green change in the BVI, with a Mission to demonstrate and facilitate environmentally friendly systems. The work is well documented and easy to understand at www.greenvi.org. Ring 346-4040 to talk to Green VI, or email [email protected].