Bermuda must look at its role in pollution, ex-KBB head says
Ocean pollution has reached “crisis proportions”, the former head of an environmental charity has warned.
Anne Hyde, who stepped down as executive director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful last week, said Bermuda had to balance on-island environmental problems with its global impact.
She added: “While much of the ocean debris has come from other countries far away, it would be naive of us to think that the problem is some other country’s fault and that Bermuda is blameless.
“It is very likely that our bad littering habits are swirling their way by wind and current towards the Azores or Africa, so KBB’s goals have definitely shifted to think globally and act locally.”
Ms Hyde said the public had to be aware of their individual responsibilities to protect the environment.
She added: “We tend to expect government to solve problems for us, but it is actually our individual actions that are important and those decisions that we make every day that can have a positive or negative impact on nature.”
Ms Hyde said: “KBB needs to keep beating the drum loudly so that people can hear it above the competing noises of other societal problems.
“Look at how well we have all worked together to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If we can do that as a country, just think of all the other problems we can tackle if we do it together.”
Ms Hyde served as executive director for 11 years before she retired at the end of January.
Her position was filled by Katie Cooper Berry, who has worked in the charity centre for 18 years.
Ms Hyde said that environmental concerns had become much more widespread in the 12 years since she joined KBB.
But she added that the last decade had also seen ocean pollution reach “crisis proportions”.
Ms Hyde joined KBB in 2009 as a consultant to help the charity’s board restructure and was appointed executive director a year later.
She admitted that the extent of her environmental awareness when she joined KBB was the use of a reusable lunch container and that she went through “quite a learning curve”.
Ms Hyde said: “I took every opportunity to learn from local experts – and there are many.
“I joined forums and renewed connections with local and overseas environmental organisations.”
She added: “I was on a mission to learn everything possible in a short time because I was not a trained scientist or educator, but it was my role to deliver environmental education to clean-up volunteers and students.
“Somewhere along the way, I became very passionate about protecting the environment.”
Ms Hyde said that she realised during KBB’s 50th anniversary in 2015 that protection of the island’s natural beauty also boosted the economy.
She also highlighted the revival of several recycling and cleaning programmes, such as the Trash Art Exhibition held at the Bermuda Society of Arts every year, as some of her proudest achievements.
Ms Hyde said: “I have helped a nearly dormant registered charity regain its popularity and give it the boost it so richly deserved.”
She added: “Now I can leave my post and the day-to-day operations with a smile on my face because I know that all the hard work has paid off.”
But Ms Hyde said that she would continue to work with KBB as a member of its board of directors and oversee the Nonsuch Project, which allows schoolchildren to analyse plastic pollution that washed up on the East End island.