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Blues about Green

Got The Blues about Being Green?
By David Blacklock

Standing in line at RiteWay recently, I found myself gazing admiringly at Abby O'Neal who was at the next register. For the first time I could remember, I saw a real person using recyclable shopping bags. Now, I realize that Ms. O'Neal is in the recyclables business and, if anyone, she ought to be seen to use these bags. But I swear she must be the only person on Tortola who does so. Or so I thought.

I was inspired by this sighting to put the word out amongst friends and contacts to see if anyone would care to share their own experiences with trying to live a more environmentally conscious life.

Becky Clarke is the mother of two daughters and works at VISAR:
“I once entered a competition run by The Moorings where I worked out a whole plan for crushing cans and shipping out crushed cans, etc—selling the metals and in return for the environmental good deed, it gave The Moorings a good name. I never heard from the competition, and the can crusher/bottle banks never arrived.

“The girls and I do try to walk to our local shops in Cane Garden Bay. We take our recycle bags, and at home we use the cleaning products that claim to be environmentally friendly. Students at the girls' school (Cedar) sent letters as a project to the parents asking us to reuse Tupperware and not plastic bags for lunch. At VISAR we are saving supermarket bags for our Market Day, rather than buying new plastic bags. My 6 year old, for the second year in a row of “what do you want to be when you grow up” has stated categorically that she intends to be a Sanitation Worker! When asked if she knows what it means says yes and that she wants to save her planet by cleaning up the mess people make. Though she only wants to load the skips into the truck during the day and the men can do the night shift! So the answer is no, we do not do very much; we want to and seeing recycling in full swing when we visit the UK every year, it just adds to the shame and wish for the BVI government to do something!”


Charter chef Niki Payne works with her husband, Pete Clapp on a 62-foot catamaran:
“One of the first ‘green’ questions guests ask on char ter is about trash. It always saddens us to reveal that within these very beautiful islands, there isn't the opportunity to do anything other than crush it and bin it. However, it seems that there is a real wave of eco-awareness that is star ting to impact on this massive char ter industry, and where we can make our hands greener, we do. The charter industry consumes cleaning chemicals at an alarming rate, but last year saw The Moorings base provide, in bulk containers; eco-friendly deck cleaners, degreasers, sump tank cleaner and washing up liquid, to name a few. Yes, you have to do the leg work by decanting into your carefully kept plastic containers, but the staff have taken the initiative and gone green with it. This has been taken further amongst many crews who choose environmentally friendly products over other brands (Clarence Thomas has a fantastic range of the Green Works products from glass cleaner to washing machine detergent).

“The internet is an endless source for ideas and eco-friendly cleaning recipes, and so are your grandparents; what my gran can't do with a packet of baking soda, time and elbow grease is not worth knowing! One provisioning gripe is the unavoidable issue of importation—too-early picked, unnaturally coloured/plumped/shaped food. However, Aragorn's farm is a constant reminder to make the most of what's available from Mother Nature. You may not always get what you need/want/wish for, but what you do get is a mile apar t from the store-bought alternative. Many chefs try to adapt their menus where possible, to reflect availability. Somehow, it seems to make the whole galley experience less industrial. Some chefs take it upon themselves to sow seeds, and many boats can be seen to spor t herbal greenery of the culinary kind. There is not much in this world that can beat freshly picked basil for the classic Caprese salad or the wafting fragrance of mint leaves muddled for a mojito. There are also endless conversations and island produce to be had whilst suppor ting all the small local sales that take place, be it with the lady on the roundabout by One Mart or at one of the farmers markets that have sprung up. And from all that food is all that waste, human waste. If there was a pump out facility, then we would use it, but the least we can do is to make sure we drop our tanks as far off shore as is possible. We are so sea-dependent, and there really is no question of doing our best to protect what is left. Getting involved with the Reef Check programme and supporting their projects has helped keep crews aware, particularly with issues such as the infamous lionfish. Crews are able to guide their guests through the etiquette of snorkeling/diving to help them be part of that environmental protection too.


“As small a token as the above gestures may seem, there really is a great peace of mind to be gained from getting involved. Every little bit helps, regardless; we sail rather than motor, we use our own bags rather than plastic and we try to keep it local. Yes, we will still have the inevitable conversation about trash, but it may not be for much longer.”

Pamelah Antoine manages Fort Recovery resort hotel:

“At Fort Recovery we have many trees that have grown up to be quite tall and lush. When we do buildings, if at all possible, we will build around the trees. It takes ten minutes to cut down a tree but ten years to grow. The other thing we have been doing is reusing our very large garbage bags. Once the items are collected from the grounds we dump them at the dump and keep the bags” Many of us are willing and motivated but feel there just aren't the facilities to enable recycling or separation of rubbish. If you have a suggestion or technique for helping keep the environment aesthetically appealing as well as sustainable, drop us a line on Facebook.

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