Greenrock president Judith Landsberg *Photo supplied
Greenrock president Judith Landsberg *Photo supplied

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20: Having a healthy environment will help tackle many problems in Bermuda, including the economy and gang violence.

This is according to new Greenrock president Judith Landsberg who spoke at the Hamilton Rotary today.

Dr Landsberg told Rotarians that the charity believes that living sustainably is the most important issue facing us today and it is a gift we make to our children and future generations.

“If you want to tackle poverty or sickness or education issues in the community, then look to create and protect a healthy environment as well.

“They go hand-in-hand.

“Our environment is connected in all that we do so environmental sustainability not only deserves a seat at the table, in fact, it is critical to include it in our decision-making.

“Sustainability and how we use resources is the foundation of our cost of living.

“And reconnecting our young people to their social and physical environment is critical given the issues they are faced with today.”

Dr Landsberg asked why it was important to put the environment above other “pressing” issues such as the economy and disenfranchised youth.

She said when it comes to the cost of living, Bermuda has among the highest electricity costs in the world but there is no “concerted effort” to reserve electricity.

Another important issue Dr Landsberg discussed was tourism and questioned why government was thinking of widening the Town Cut when cruise ship passengers spend less than hotel guests.

She said tourists who are coming to spend money to stay in hotels expect a “greener product” at Rosewood Tucker’s Point.

“They expect to see sustainable practices.

“They are the ones opting to re-use their bed linen and towels, instead of washing them each day, and they are asking where the recycling goes.

“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.”

Speaking about disenfranchised youth, Dr Landsberg said: “Bringing the environment into the classroom is going to help students achieve better and it also helps them to feel empowered, something that they do today in the garden will effect what happens tomorrow such as plant seeds to see flowers grow or attract butterflies.

“Getting students’ hands in the dirt or getting out for a walk through Spittal Pond is directly addressing attention issues and learning styles typical of boys.

“Many of the so-called ‘green jobs’ appeal to boys because they are practical.”

She added: “We have the luxury of being a wealthy island with a small population so we can include every person on this island in the conversation.

“We invite you to partner with Greenrock in changing the mindset so that when our government, as well as all Bermuda residents, makes decisions, they include the environment in their decision-making.”