Archive | January, 2015

Save The Bays Youth Environment Ambassadors See Green Side of Heavy Industry

POWER PLAY IS SERIOUS BUSINESS – Grand Bahama teens don hard hats and inquiring minds to learn more about energy production during a trip to the Grand Bahama Power Company. It’s part of the popular Youth Environment Ambassadors (YEA) leadership program sponsored by Save The Bays. In January, visits to the power plant and Grand Bahama Shipyard were aimed at demonstrating the synergetic co-existence of heavy industry and environmental protection when companies monitor, protect, respect and abide best practices and international standards.

POWER PLAY IS SERIOUS BUSINESS – Grand Bahama teens don hard hats and inquiring minds to learn more about energy production during a trip to the Grand Bahama Power Company. It’s part of the popular Youth Environment Ambassadors (YEA) leadership program sponsored by Save The Bays. In January, visits to the power plant and Grand Bahama Shipyard were aimed at demonstrating the synergetic co-existence of heavy industry and environmental protection when companies monitor, protect, respect and abide best practices and international standards.

Some 45 young people in Grand Bahama in the past month witnessed the reality of what their older counterparts said for decades was possible  – the greening of modern heavy industry.

The youngsters, participants in a popular bi-monthly program called Youth Environment Ambassadors sponsored by Save The Bays, got the educational double dose with on-site tours, lectures and classroom visits by executives from two of the island’s leading industrial suppliers – the Grand Bahama Shipyard and Grand Bahama Power Company.

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“Grand Bahama is the heartbeat of industry in The Bahamas and, with the shipyard being the largest in the Western Hemisphere, it’s a real testing ground for how industry can serve the public’s needs without sacrificing the environment,” said Joe Darville Director of Education for the fast-growing environmental movement. “The presentations by both the Grand Bahama Shipyard and the Grand Bahama Power Company were lively, informative and interactive. But most importantly, they demonstrated how best practices can mitigate against any potentially negative impact on our health, well-being and on our environment, marine and terrestrial, even while operating in a massive industrial complex.”

While health and safety experts Nikita Mullings and Jensen Farquharson led the session from Grand Bahama Power, Grand Bahama Shipyard CEO Carl-Gustaf Rotkirch and Health, Safety, Environment and Security Manager Kendrick Knowles led the session that included a tour of what has been called “a celebrated example of industrial and environmental symbiosis.”

Darville had especially flattering words for the shipyard where he worked for eight years.

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“It is always my joy and delight  to tout and celebrate the care and diligence with which all work is carried out in The Yard in order to safeguard our unique environment.  Indeed, it is a shining example to uphold for the youth we are training to be the informed, committed and enthusiastic leaders and stewards of our unique heritage now and for generations into the future,” said Darville.

The work of monitoring, meeting international standards and protecting the environment is ongoing for the shipyard, said Rotkirch.

“What is more, being an ISO-certified enterprise, we continuously look for ways to further reduce our environmental footprint, and monitor our performance, as our company grows and evolves,” he noted, calling the “young bright students a true joy to meet and interact with. There is no doubt that they will be the ones taking the responsibility for forming our greener future in the years to come. The importance of the message about the environmental challenges and possibilities cannot be underestimated.”

Future environmental leaders see heavy industry at work – Grand Bahama Shipyard, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, opened its doors with CEO Carl Rotkirch, far right, personally leading the tour and talk for the informative session of Youth Environmental Ambassadors sponsored by Save The Bays.

Future environmental leaders see heavy industry at work – Grand Bahama Shipyard, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, opened its doors with CEO Carl Rotkirch, far right, personally leading the tour and talk for the informative session of Youth Environmental Ambassadors sponsored by Save The Bays.

The Saturday sessions are so popular that when the YEA program announced its second year of the environmental leadership program more than twice as many junior high school students showed up as space allowed for. The education arm of Save The Bays is made possible by funding from the organization that is partnering with more than a dozen community-based groups and associations aimed at protecting the physical and cultural heritage of The Bahamas.

In addition to its educational efforts, Save The Bays is committed to passage of a Freedom of Information act, environmental protection act, accountability for oil pollution, and an end to unregulated development.  With more than 17,200 Facebook friends and nearly 7,000 signatures on its petition, the association is the fastest-growing NGO in The Bahamas.

Chain reaction – Just as human hands intertwine and the movement of one impacts the rest, everything in ecology is linked. That’s the lesson being demonstrated in this classroom section of the Youth Environment Ambassadors program in Grand Bahama. The series of hands-on experiments, classroom material and field trips is so popular that when the second year session opened in December, more than twice the number of junior high school students applied for the spots available. It’s one of several environmental education efforts supported by Save the Bays based on the belief that the youth of today will be the stewards of the environment tomorrow.

Chain reaction – Just as human hands intertwine and the movement of one impacts the rest, everything in ecology is linked. That’s the lesson being demonstrated in this classroom section of the Youth Environment Ambassadors program in Grand Bahama. The series of hands-on experiments, classroom material and field trips is so popular that when the second year session opened in December, more than twice the number of junior high school students applied for the spots available. It’s one of several environmental education efforts supported by Save the Bays based on the belief that the youth of today will be the stewards of the environment tomorrow.

Save The Bays, COB Lecture Series Continues January 29 with Animal Rights Authorities

Sam-Duncombe

The popular Save The Bays lecture series that is drawing nearly 200 people to sessions at The College of The Bahamas sparking debate on hot cultural, social and environmental issues continues January 29 when three experts tackle legal and moral issues surrounding animal rights.

Speakers include Lennox Paton law firm partner Metta MacMillan-Hughes, Bahamas Humane Society President Kim Aranha and animal ethics advocate Sam Duncombe, a director of Save The Bays and founder of re-Earth.

“There has never been a greater need for discussion surrounding the legal and ethical rights of animals, and for the subject to be treated with the seriousness it deserves,” said Duncombe. “With 91% of the American public going online at least once daily and Bahamians very close in internet usage, social media is making it easier to post images of animal cruelty. Pictures are posted daily of the horrors of animal agriculture, animals that have been tortured or killed, or are being treated like artifacts of entertainment, kept in pools, pens and inhumane conditions that violate the most basic standards for animal care.”

At the same time that social media is making it easier to post and boast of animal hate crimes, there is a powerful growing interest in protecting animals that cannot speak for themselves, Duncombe explained.

“The only way to end the cruelty is to make it illegal and provide resources for strict enforcement,” she said. A petition seeking protective legislation in the U.S. already has 330,000 signatures and the Animal Legal Defense Fund is airing TV commercials in support of a series of bills. In California the AB 2140 bill is seeking to make the captivity and display of orcas (killer whales) illegal. “If such legislation does pass, and it looks promising, animals that have feelings and emotions just like you and I do will no longer be considered chattel under the law, the same as a desk or a lawn mower.” In the lecture set for next Thursday at the Harry C. Moore Library Auditorium at C.O.B. at 6 pm, the issue of Animal Ethics and The Law will be fully explored from legal and moral angles.

The lecture series, presented by the Faculty of Social and Education Studies, under a two-year partnership between COB and Save The Bays started in 2014 with a discussion on freedom of information with retired Supreme Court Justice Jeanne Thompson, assistant professor Lisa Benjamin and Callenders law firm attorney Dawson Malone. Duncombe served as moderator.

The lecture series is one of many facets of activity of the fast-growing environmental advocacy movement that is calling on government to pass an environmental protection act, a freedom of information act, put a stop to unregulated development and bring accountability to as well as protection from oil spills and pollution. Save The Bays education arm is training young environment ambassadors in Grand Bahama through a hands-on experiential program so popular that twice as many young people tried to sign up as space was available for when it started again this season. In New Providence, Save The Bays news coverage, legal actions and rallies have attracted tens of thousands of followers and its social media presence is a record-setter for non-government organizations with more than 17,600 followers on Facebook and nearly 7,000 signatures on its petition.

Gov’t slammed over failed anchor project policy

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Advocacy group hits out at Christie administration’s broken promise of a more environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive development model

 

The government’s continued support for the controversial “anchor project” policy of national development is the subject of a new video by prominent social and environmental advocacy group Save The Bays (STB).

The video, narrated by STB education director Joseph Darville, documents how the current administration promised to create sustainable local economies on each Family Island that would benefit Bahamians, only to revert to the shortsighted old model of mega-resorts owned by wealthy foreign interests.

“Anchor resorts and mega-resorts are continuing to flood our Family Islands, and as more and more invade our shores they are being kept secret from the Bahamian public,” Darville said.

“But hold on, didn’t we hear that Perry Christie and his government had abandoned the anchor project plan? Didn’t they mention something about full-circle economies in the Family Islands? Something must be dead wrong, since all these new developments are like the old failing ones.”

Darville noted that the developers of anchor projects, which are mostly gated and exclusive, arrive in the Bahamas with promises of many jobs. The projects move forward with the full support of local politicians eager to announce new employment opportunities.

Far too many of the projects go bankrupt and fail, he said, but only after destroying the local environment and culture – which the government has a duty to protect for the prosperity of generations of Bahamians to come.

“All these anchor projects are dumped on our Family Islands, they are all the same. Now, they conjure up new buzzwords, like sustainability and full-circle economy, but they are nothing new. And if they have not worked in the past, they will not now, or ever. And yet our politicians keep up this charade, deceiving the public,” Darville said.

He explained that while many of these mega resorts were failing over the years, small sustainable developments throughout the islands have been succeeding.

STB has advocated for a tourism development model based on such smaller scale resorts with a modest environmental footprint. Such a policy, the group says, would not only protect the country’s natural resources for future generations, but also make Bahamian ownership in the industry a realistic proposition.

The new video is part of an ongoing series covering key aspects of the organization’s fight for a better Bahamas. It can be viewed on Save The Bays website, www.savethebays.bs, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SaveTheBays, or on the organization’s YouTube channel (http://bit.ly/1BbqfIi). Please leave comments and share it with friends.

Founded less than two years ago, Save The Bays has taken The Bahamas by storm. The grassroots effort to protect ecologically significant areas of the archipelago from unregulated development has transformed into a broad-based coalition that is at the forefront of both social and environmental issues. The group is calling for comprehensive environmental protections, oil spill legislation, greater transparency in government and much needed marine species preservation laws.
With more than 17,200 followers on Facebook, STB is the fastest growing, most popular non-profit, non-government organization in Bahamas history on social media.
The group’s petition calling on the government to enact an Environmental Protection Act, a Freedom of Information Act, to stop unregulated development and to take a stance against oil pollution, is also climbing in numbers, with 6,384 signatures so far. To get involved, sign the petition or learn more, visit www.savethebays.bs.

ent model based on such smaller scale resorts with a modest environmental footprint. Such a policy, the group says, would not only protect the country’s natural resources for future generations, but also make Bahamian ownership in the industry a realistic proposition.

The new video is part of an ongoing series covering key aspects of the organization’s fight for a better Bahamas. It can be viewed on Save The Bays website, www.savethebays.bs, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SaveTheBays, or on the organization’s YouTube channel (http://bit.ly/1BbqfIi). Please leave comments and share it with friends.

Founded just over a year ago, Save The Bays has taken The Bahamas by storm. The grassroots effort to protect ecologically significant areas of the archipelago from unregulated development has transformed into a broad-based coalition that is at the forefront of both social and environmental issues. The group is calling for comprehensive environmental protections, oil spill legislation, greater transparency in government and much needed ‘conchservation’ laws.

With more than 17,200 followers on Facebook, STB is the fastest growing, most popular non-profit, non-government organization in Bahamas history on social media.

The group’s petition calling on the government to enact an Environmental Protection Act, a Freedom of Information Act, to stop unregulated development and to take a stance against oil pollution, is also climbing in numbers, with 6,384 signatures so far. To get involved, sign the petition or learn more, visit www.savethebays.bs.

Save The Bays Environmental Facilitators, Education Team See Nature & Technology Work Hand in Hand at Cape Eleuthera Institute

YEA FOR CAPE ELEUTHERA AND SAVE THE BAYS – YEA, Youth Environment Ambassadors Facilitators from Grand Bahama, attend the science symposium at Cape Eleuthera Institute, thanks to funding from Save The Bays. Pictured l-r, Javan Hunt, Sharon Glover, Save The Bays education director Joe Darville, and Jensen Farquharson.

YEA FOR CAPE ELEUTHERA AND SAVE THE BAYS – YEA, Youth Environment Ambassadors Facilitators from Grand Bahama, attend the science symposium at Cape Eleuthera Institute, thanks to funding from Save The Bays. Pictured l-r, Javan Hunt, Sharon Glover, Save The Bays education director Joe Darville, and Jensen Farquharson.

It’s rare that a school visit elicits a response so effusive it sounds like something reserved for eyeballing an Orca, but then neither the school nor the students were ordinary when the education team from Save The Bays landed at The Island School, Cape Eleuthera recently for a scientific symposium.

It was environmental protection advocates meeting those who live, work, teach and breathe the environment, making the most of nature’s bounty with sustainable energy and renewables while sharing lessons they have learned with those will become the future stewards of a fragile eco-system.

The hands-on, four-day, live-in training was made possible by a grant from the fast-growing environmental movement Save The Bays. Like last year’s symposium attendance which was funded by the Moore Bahamas Foundation, this year’s brought members of the education arm of Save The Bays, headed by Joseph Darville, and its Youth Environment Ambassadors (YEA) Facilitators to the Cape Eleuthera Institute and The Island School.

The school, started in 1999 with six students and the philosophy “We live what we teach” has become a magnet for high school seniors from various countries who grow their own food, explore the coral reefs and the deep, interacting with sharks, sea turtles and other marine species, learning eco-management. All their surroundings, including living quarters, are textbook sustainable.

Jensen Farquharson and Javan Hunt listen on to students at the Island School and are intrigued during their exhibits

Jensen Farquharson and Javan Hunt listen on to students at the Island School and are intrigued during their exhibits

“The best part of this trip was actually seeing and experiencing how technology/development and nature can live and work together in harmony and peace without devastation and destruction,” said Javan Hunt, Environmental Facilitator. “It can be done! And now I take with me this blueprint and will implement what I can in my personal life, teach those willing to learn and lead by example.”

Hunt echoed what environmental spokesmen have frequently said – that blue and green economies can provide untold numbers of jobs without endangering species or resources.

“Each time we attend, we return renewed and even more passionate about leading our youth expertly along the path of creating a dynamic, sustainable and leadership role in preserving and protecting the unique beauty and resources of this archipelagic nation,” said Darville. “The Island School and Cape Eleuthera are undoubtedly the microcosm of the type of environmental stewardship that should be propagated throughout our island nation.”

YEA Facilitator Jensen Farquharson agreed.

“I am thankful to Save The Bays affording me the opportunity to be a part of an experience that will forever enforce my faith in the hope that this country can realize its potential if we invest in our young people wisely,” said Farquharson. “The island of Eleuthera is certainly a paradise: the people, the marine scenery, and the unique topography confirmed why I love this country.”

Leadership trainer Sharon Glover called Eleuthera “one of God’s greatest creations,” encouraging every Bahamian to visit Eleuthera and The Island School.

“I do believe it would renew and confirm their belief that there is no place like the Bahamas and therefore we should do everything in our powers to preserve and protect it.”

Protecting the environment and preserving it for future generations are the primary goals of Save The Bays, the record-breaking non-government organization that has amassed more than 17,000 friends on Facebook since its launch in April 2013. Its petition at savethebays.bs calling on government to pass an environmental protection act, a freedom of information act, control oil pollution and end unregulated development has nearly 7,000 signatures.