Environmentalist questions logic of widening Town Cut
Government shouldn’t widen Town Cut to bring in tourists who traditionally spend little, insisted new Greenrock president Judith Landsberg yesterday.
Media reports have said a study recommends doubling its width and removing large parts of three islands Dr Landsberg said the decision didn’t seem to make sense economically.
Speaking to the Hamilton Rotary Club, Dr Landsberg said: “The tourists who really bring money to the Island are not cruise ship passengers, it’s the hotel guests.
“The Government expects cruise ship passengers to contribute an average of $210 each to the economy.
“At Rosewood Tucker’s Point, the tourists who are paying $500 to $700 a night are demanding a greener product.
“Why are we considering degrading the environment when our tourists, who have the most potential to add jobs and dollars to our economy, are demanding that we think green? Thinking of the environment is core to our tourism offering.”
In a wide-ranging speech, Dr Landsberg said the Bermuda Government needs to place a greater focus on sustainability, arguing that it has far reaching consequences. For example, she said a greater emphasis on energy conservation could help reduce the cost of energy by making costly expansions at Belco less necessary.
“Belco, in response to our usage, is projecting $500 million of expenditure in the next ten years to upgrade and expand its plant,” she said.
“This does not come from some investment pool but from increases in the cost of electricity to individuals and businesses in round numbers, up to $10,000 per person. Much of this can be avoided with a few simple steps.”
She said that the Ace Group has reduced the electricity bill at their Woodbourne Avenue, Hamilton building by 12 percent over the course of four years, and that Victoria Street’s Victoria Place was built within the same price range of other offices, but with the goal of reducing tenant electricity costs by 25 to 30 percent.
Solar thermal hot water can reduce household energy use by as much as ten percent, while grey water recycling can reduce household water use by 30 percent, reducing the need for desalinisation plants, Dr Landsberg added.
She also noted that almost all the items we buy are imported, but most of the materials imported are simply thrown away.
“What portion of what we buy is disposable? Think about it. Coffee cups, the container for your chicken dinner, plastic straws and a bottle of water.
“We pay for that shipping, then we throw most of it away. We are masters of producing items of convenience, but at what expense?
“We would like to get Bermuda back to some of our old habits. Let’s use the water off our roofs, not out of a pipe under the road. If we can buy local tomatoes or chickens, why do they have to be shipped in from Israel or America?”
Dr Landsberg also noted the social aspects of Greenrock’s projects, including the community farming programme Healthy Harvest, green grocery bags and the Green School project.
“It is a well known educational principle that children learn best when their education is linked to their experience,” she said.
“Bringing the environment into the classroom is going to help students achieve better, and it also helps them feel empowered something that they do today in the garden will effect what happens tomorrow.
“Many so-called ‘green jobs’ appeal to boys because they are practical. And at a higher level, attention to the environment empowers and connects communities.”