Discovery Channel Canada to feature Bermuda's environmental story

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Key parts of Bermuda's environmental story are to be seen by TV viewers across Canada – and potentially further afield – as from this week.

The newly created Bermuda Environmental Alliance unveiled its first project yesterday, a four-part miniseries that is being shown on the Discovery Channel Canada network.

Those involved believe it will act as a positive showcase for the Island and also help the new group achieve its aim of promoting environmental awareness through media and education.

  • <b>The Bermuda Environmental Alliance group</b> was launched at the HSBC Board Room yesterday. Pictured are John White CEO of BF&M, Tracey Gibbons, Sangita Iyer head of BEA and HSBC Bank of Bermuda head Philip Butterfield.

    The Bermuda Environmental Alliance group was launched at the HSBC Board Room yesterday. Pictured are John White CEO of BF&M, Tracey Gibbons, Sangita Iyer head of BEA and HSBC Bank of Bermuda head Philip Butterfield.


Key parts of Bermuda's environmental story are to be seen by TV viewers across Canada – and potentially further afield – as from this week.

The newly created Bermuda Environmental Alliance unveiled its first project yesterday, a four-part miniseries that is being shown on the Discovery Channel Canada network.

Those involved believe it will act as a positive showcase for the Island and also help the new group achieve its aim of promoting environmental awareness through media and education.

That potential has been recognised by Discovery Channel Canada president Paul Lewis, who said: "These stories have been beautifully shot and edited and told in a way that will intrigue and make them relevant to a Canadian and international audience. In many ways Bermuda can be held up as a shining example of how people can live with nature, use what the environment has to offer in a responsible way without destroying it in the process."

The story of the revival of the cahow, new insights from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences into creating biofuel from algae, how and why rainwater is collected by Bermuda roofs, and the mysterious habitat of the Island's underwater caves are explored in the miniseries.

Mr. Lewis added: "As a relatively small island in a very large ocean, Bermuda has to live within its means and judging from these stories audiences will understand that the Island is doing exactly that in a very groundbreaking and creative way."

Fronting the miniseries is a face familiar to many Bermuda residents, former Island TV reporter Sangita Iyer. Now based in Toronto, she narrated and directed the five-minute segments, which are being featured on Discovery Channel Canada's Daily Planet show.

Ms Iyer is also the founding executive director of the Bermuda Environmental Alliance (BEA), which has a goal of educating the public about environmental issues through its website, TV shows and other media ventures. It is keen to help bring a greater audience and awareness to other environmental charities and groups through its projects.

Key to creating the BEA, and a major sponsor of the miniseries, is HSBC Bermuda and its CEO Philip Butterfield.

After seeing the TV series, the BEA's advisory chairman said: "I'm very pleased. We are off to a great start in assembling a body of work and platform to raise awareness about Bermuda and its environment and what steps we are taking here to protect it."

One of a number of other prominent Island businessmen involved is David Ezekiel, who is the BEA's chairman. After hearing that Discovery Channel Canada boss Mr. Lewis had been 'thrilled' by the project, he said he felt that was further proof of its worth given Discovery's own high standards.

"It is a hugely exciting tie-up that will give the BEA a lot of momentum, " he said. And of the group's new website, added: "It has been designed with youth in mind. One of the goals of the BEA is to go into schools and spread the environmental message."

BF&M boss John Wight, who is the BEA's fund-raising chairman, said the goals of the group aligned with BF&M's own vision of greater environmental awareness – hence its involvement.

The Bermuda Department of Tourism is another backer of the miniseries. Director of Tourism William Griffith said any positive exposure the miniseries gave the Island would be good.

Ms Iyer, who has been travelling between her home on Canada and the Island to film the segments and work with the BEA, paid tribute to Island environmentalists who had assisted with the shows, including Jeremy Madeiros and David Wingate, and business backers that include Fairmont Hotels Bermuda, and Bacardi amongst others.

She still has a deep love for Bermuda, where she lived for three years. Her favourite segment had been with the story of the cahows. She said: "They are such adorable birds with unique survival skills."

Ms Iyer added: "The segments will hopefully encourage Canadians to visit the Island and get in touch with some of the eco-friendly programmes that Bermudians have been quietly implementing for centuries now."

Some cable viewers in Bermuda may be able to tune in to the miniseries, the first two of which are being shown this week as part of Daily Planet. There will also be live Internet streaming at www.discoverychannel.ca.

The BEA's website, which launched yesterday, can be found at www.bermuda-bea.org.

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