WEDNESDAY, NOV. 28: BEST’s Blueprint on sustainable development aims to outline what it means to be a sustainable community and what it will take to get there.

Over the coming weeks the Bermuda Sun will continue publishing the text of the Blueprint, section by section.

Bermuda’s cultural heritage has facets worth preserving and some stereotypes worth not much more than purging. Knowing the difference between the two will free us from the shackles of the past and enable us to capitalise on the wealth of abilities and intellect within the many facets of Bermuda’s diverse population.

Each one of us has our own unique contribution to make to ensure Bermuda’s cultural wealth is celebrated in a healthy, nurturing and all encompassing embrace.

As a result of our past, Bermuda is today a collection of multi-faceted communities, each rich with a history and heritage that is unique to only this place.

Together, we have fostered a collective Bermudian culture that has shaped our sense of identity and helped us to navigate change.

The history and stories that have shaped our community are worth preserving as, by so doing, we honour and draw strength from our collective past. These stories embrace where we have come from, celebrate where we are today, and envision where we are going. 

Increasingly, communities around the globe are recognizing culture as a legitimate foundation for building community identity and economic resilience, and are including a cultural dimension in their sustainability models. 

These communities are making the case that cultural vitality is essential for a healthy sustainable society; that a healthy cultural sector is increasingly important to the development of a strong and economically sound community. They have adopted a ‘whole systems’ perspective and strategy in their approach to local cultural development that is delivering a measurable return on their investment.

Safeguarding our cultural heritage — historic sites, cultural landscapes, buildings and heritage districts, among others — and maintaining a strong economy do not have to be mutually exclusive goals.

Bermuda’s abundance and diversity of cultural assets provide us with a notable advantage in the competition for tourists and business partners who are motivated by an interest in the historical, artistic, natural and cultural heritage attractions of a destination.

Evolving identity

Cultural tourism is now part of a worldwide boom that is projected to become the world’s largest industry.

As a nation of immigrants, starting with the first adventurers shipwrecked on our shores, “Bermudian” is a unique and constantly evolving identity. 

Instead of drawing divisions among our population, our challenge is to celebrate our differences and nurture our collective cultural identity: namely the hard work, innovation and community spirit that enabled us to become one of the wealthiest communities in the world despite our isolation and limited tangible natural resources.

BEST believes that recognising and fostering our unique and collective culture has an important role to play in our sustainability model.  BEST welcomes the creation, promotion and implementation of a comprehensive cultural development plan to conserve and enhance our cultural heritage resources, which give added benefits to cultural tourism opportunities and uphold our community’s sense of place.

• This document was researched and written by members of the BEST research team led by: Alaina Cubbon, Stuart Hayward, Frances Marshall and Marlie Powell

In the next issue: Health and Wellness: Bermuda’s rapidly increasing health care costs and chronic disease.

To learn more about the effect of the pollution we create come out and support Dr. Jamie Bacon and the Amphibian Project this evening at 7pm in the Education Auditorium at BAMZ. During the lecture, entitled: ‘How Pollution is Affecting Bermuda’s Wildlife: Potential Implications for Human Health’, Dr. Bacon will discuss the her findings of the last twelve years of the project, including the deformities in cane toads, killifish and red-eared slider terrapins due to the air and water pollution.