On Tuesday 5 June, BVI Environment Month was officially launched under the theme ‘The Green Economy: Does it Include You?’, with an exposition in the Noel Lloyd Park that was attended by school children, BVI Government staff and members of the public. Our Governor’s Office reusable shopping bags were on display and available to all who wanted one, in return for a promise to use them every time they shopped. Earlier in the day, I had visited Riteway supermarket to give some of our bags away and help customers pack their shopping – apparently I am a natural!
In the weeks leading up to Environment Month, we had spent time in the office discussing what measures we could take towards being more ‘green’ in our work. We finally submitted the following pledges to the Conservation and Fisheries Department as part of their Green Pledge campaign:
- To reduce paper use by 40% in June and 20% over the course of 2012
- To reduce / eliminate use of plastic bags
- To increase recycling in the Governor’s Office and Government House
- To create a vegetable and herb garden at Government House to reduce purchase of vegetables and herbs for official functions
Members of my staff joined employees from 26 government departments, schools, service groups and local businesses who had also made pledges for a very lively Parade of Pledges. It was an impressive sight as the large group made their way down Waterfront Drive. Siân, Hara and Rose from my office rode bicycles and were adorned with our reusable bags. Other participants sported aluminium can jewellery and hats made from plastic bags and carried signs with eco-friendly messages. The Parade ended at the Noel Lloyd Park, where each organisation read out its pledge.
Activities to raise awareness of the environment have continued throughout the month. One was a Green Bag Day organised by the Department of Conservation and Fisheries at most of the local supermarkets, where 3,500 reusable bags (including many Governor’s Office ones) were given away to shoppers. It really is fantastic to see more and more of these being used and very encouraging to see that it is often young, environmentally aware people persuading their parents to do so – I know I get into serious trouble with my daughter if I am caught using a plastic bag!
It has been an educational month with lots going on in support of the environment. It was easy for our office to make our green pledge, but we have realised that it is harder to keep. We have managed to do so, but it has definitely required adjustments to the way we work.
And that’s what the month has really been about: trying to persuade people in the Territory to change their habits, to change their culture, so that we go green and stay green long after Environment Month has come to a close.