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Baroness warns of climate change risks to Bermuda

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Baroness Kay Andrews pictured with Alana Anderson Counsel President of the Bermuda National Trust (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Bermuda’s “physical heritage” and one-of-a-kind ecosystems could be put in jeopardy by climate change, a British member of the House of Lords warned.

Baroness Andrews of Southover said that rising temperatures and higher humidity could erode Bermuda’s cultural monuments and artefacts at a much faster rate.

She added that nature reserves that added to Bermuda’s “sense of national and cultural identity” would also be damaged by the changing climate.

Baroness Andrews said: “There are huge changes that come with climate change and some of them are more threatening than others.

“When you go to Spittal Pond you can see the what climate change and the rising sea levels will do.”

She added: “I think because of the coral you’ve got a real issue here about how to manage this and who can be involved.”

Baroness Andrews was speaking during an exclusive interview with The Royal Gazette last week about her time working with the Bermuda National Trust during her extended visit to the island.

Baroness Andrews, a Labour life peer and former chairwoman for English Heritage, has been on the island since December last year after her return home was postponed because of coronavirus lockdowns in the UK.

She spent much of her time learning about the BNT and cultural heritage of the island.

Baroness Andrews said that “physical heritage” was normally affected by the air and other environmental forces, but added that a worsening climate amplify these affects.

She said that the Government and organisations such as the BNT should get young people invested in the future of heritage and environmental sites.

Baroness Andrews also recommended a “national volunteer force” of young people be utilised to help care for heritage sites.

She said: “I think here in Bermuda you’ve got a potential population of extremely talented young people and extremely committed young people who know all about climate change.

“To get them involved in doing things in the nature reserves and the national parks, as well as in the settings of the monuments, would be fantastic.”

Baroness Andrews of Southover

Kay Andrews was made Baroness Andrews of Southover in 2000.

She was the chairwoman of English Heritage from July 2009 to July 2013 and was the first woman to lead the organisation.

Baroness Andrews said that a national bursary could also be used to fund protection efforts – a strategy that was used in the UK.

She explained that the UK used a heritage fund that was bankrolled by a national lottery and helped preserve “an enormous amount of our monuments” as well as "many of our historic towns and villages“.

Baroness Andrews added: ”I know that, for many reasons, that might not be the answer for Bermuda, but some way for raising money might be conceivable.”

Alana Anderson, the president of the Bermuda National Trust, admitted that Bermuda’s climate and humidity already made it difficult to care for artefacts and that global warming would only intensify this problem.

She added that reminding the public of this threat was difficult because people did not think of the effect their day-to-day actions had on the environment.

Andrew Vaucrosson, the executive director of BNT, said that the trust planned to monitor nature reserves to keep an eye on their stability.

He said: “Nature reserves are something that everyone uses but it’s a free resource, so we have to find the balance and ask how do we support that resource and do the kinds of things that help us mitigate the effects of climate change.”

He urged people to volunteer for cleaning efforts and added that it could be beneficial for one’s physical health and deepen their understanding of Bermuda’s environment.

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Published February 24, 2021 at 8:28 am (Updated February 24, 2021 at 8:28 am)

Baroness warns of climate change risks to Bermuda

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