Back to nature:  After the Earth Hour presentation at St. George’s Prep. School on 
March 26, the students displayed their gardening and composting skills. *Photos supplied
Back to nature: After the Earth Hour presentation at St. George’s Prep. School on March 26, the students displayed their gardening and composting skills. *Photos supplied
Greenrock has teamed up with the Department of Cultural Affairs to give Heritage Month a green theme.

"We are pleased to be involved in this project with a government body because many things we did yesteryear were very sustainable and our lifestyles were simpler," says Eugene Dean of Greenrock.

"We would like to recapture some of those behaviours of the past, also to take in new technology for us to have sustainable lifestyles for tomorrow."

As part of the effort to raise awareness a series of events are taking place this month. Of particular interest is the National Debate on the Environment, at The Heritage Worship Center on the corner of Union and Dundonald streets on May 27 from 7pm to 9pm.

In this debate primary and middle school debaters will take on adults on topical issues regarding the environment with the hope that relevant solutions could emerge.

Greenrock is looking forward to that opportunity to witness an in depth discussion on the reality of our environment and its sustainability," said Mr. Dean.

"The idea here is to challenge both sides of the argument and to help us to determine whether we are really moving in a positive direction."

Earlier this month the film The Story of Stuff, was screened to middle and high school students who along with local professionals and government officials debated the topics raised.

This 20-minute United States produced film looks at how and why we have become a consumer society and who benefits from it.

The film, despite it humorous veneer, is a scathing attack on big corporations who are accused of denuding the United

States of its natural resources, as well as countries in the Third World, to feed our insatiable appetite for 'stuff' - an appetite that has been largely created by them.

According to the film, 99 per cent of the 'stuff' bought is trashed within six months. The film argues that we cannot continue doing this.

Instead we need to be using sustainable resources, renewable energy, and have a fair and equitable arrangement with the workers who actually produce the goods.

If we need any more evidence of the harmful effect of consumerism then we need look no further than our oceans.

Mr. Dean spoke of Greenrock's contact with researchers of The 5 Gyres Project (, when they were here in Bermuda in January.

Their initial findings reveal that Bermuda's beaches have more plastic being washed up on them than anywhere else. It is not the case that we are self-polluting, it is rather we are receiving plastic garbage from the United Kingdom and North America.

The gyres are an important indicator of the trash that is finding its way into the oceans. Oceans are dynamic systems, and at

certain points the oceans are influenced by currents, winds and the rotation of the earth which creates a gyre, a slow moving rotating whirlpool in which plastic tends to accumulate.

The Bermuda Sun spoke with 5 Gyres researcher, Leslie Moyers, who is based in San Francisco, who spoke of how garbage

accumulates in our oceans. She explained she was on the research ship Sea Dragon on a voyage to collect ocean samples to study plastic accumulation, as well as to study fish for possible plastic ingestion and toxins in their tissues.

"The findings have yet to be published," she said.

"We are still in the process of testing fish tissues and we hope to produce hard data of the effect of plastic pollution in the oceans."

The 5 Gyres Project has travelled thousands of miles across the North Atlantic and South Atlantic oceans, building on the data already gathered on plastic pollution in the North Pacific Gyre to help to further understand the impact of plas- tic waste on the world's oceans.

"Greenrock is about raising awareness," said Mr. Dean. "We go into schools and talk to students about the current state of the environment and share with them a lot of facts about what is happening around the world with consumption and how it has impacted the environment in terms of open spaces, and how our energy use has increased so much that Belco is grappling to meet our energy demands.

"We seek to build a basic understanding, then go into finding a solution: how we can save energy, water, and develop eco products that can be disposed off, recycled with those materials being reused in another design and production process."

Part of Greenrock's mission is to raise awareness of the impact our throwaway society is having on the environment.

The green theme for Heritage Month highlights the fact that a generation or so ago products were designed to last and

were packaged in reusable materials like glass, papers and metals, which were recyclable.

We may not be able to change the ethos of the consumer society overnight, but there are positive changes we can make today by the choices we make.