Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Botanic Park certified as 'Green'

Cayman Net News

The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is the first attraction in the Caribbean to attain Green Globe Certification. Highly regarded in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry, the certification demonstrates a commitment to the environment, sustainable operations and management.

“The Botanic Park has always been a green facility and the certification process has made us look at all of our practices and procedures to see where improvements could be made,” said Andrew Guthrie, general manager of the Botanic Park. “These changes have enabled the Botanic Park to become even more ecologically sound, which furthers our conservation goals.”

The park is a driving force in the rehabilitation of the indigenous blue iguana species and educates guests and the general public on their importance.

Through its participation in the Cayman Islands Environmental Project for the Tourism Sector (CEPTS), a joint pilot project between the Departments of Tourism and Environment and the tourism private sector, the QEII Botanic Park successfully applied 133 standards, implemented several environmental best practices, and a detailed third party audit to attain the full story.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Building a Foundation for Energy Conservation

February 23, 2010 by Green Irene

Want to get the most bang for your buck in going green? High profile projects like home solar panels may not actually be the best first step. Check out Minnesota Power’s energy conservation pyramid above, which can help in understanding the best choices to get the highest return on your investment.

As the pyramid shows, changes like reducing vampire power and switching to energy-efficient lighting can make a big impact for your home without the significant cost of more complex projects like replacing windows or installing a home wind turbine. This means smaller purchases like CFL bulbs to replace incandescents or power strips for electronics can be the best way to start conserving.

Even more importantly, the pyramid shows that the base for energy conservation is information. Understanding your energy usage, potential steps, and appropriate products and tools is fundamental to any other conservation measures you may full story.

Traveling reefs exhibit comes to Cayman

Cayman Net News
February 19, 2010

A traveling marine exhibit spotlighting the Caribbean reef ecosystem has come to Grand Cayman. Designed to promote awareness, understanding, and stewardship of coral reefs among all peoples of the wider Caribbean, the “Our Reefs: Caribbean Connections” exhibit is on display at the George Town Public Library through 12 March.

Brought here by the Department of Environment (DoE) with the assistance of Tropical Shipping, the exhibit was originally developed by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and is open to the public without charge.

The exhibit, completely revised by Florida State University in 1996, caught the attention of DoE staff when they attended the 2008 International Coral Reef Symposium. Illustrated in the exhibit’s modules are common environmental challenges, as well as local attempts within the Caribbean to conserve, sustainably utilize, or restore reefs and related full story.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Green offices come to Cayman

By Basia Pioro
The Observer

With the new Government Office Accommodation Building set to open its doors in the not-too-distant future, it’s fair to say the green office has arrived in Cayman. But despite hearing talk of green this and green that, the fact is many of us don’t quite know what it means.

A few statistics from the US Green Building Council can put what green building advocates are doing in context. The organisation is behind the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building certification programme: a rating system for buildings designed, constructed and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.
The USGBC presents some eye-opening facts.
In the United States alone, buildings account for:
• 72 per cent of electricity consumption,
• 39 per cent of energy use,
• 38 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions,
• 40 per cent of raw materials use,
• 30 per cent of waste output (136 million tons annually), and
• 14 per cent of potable water consumption.

Designers of a green building, whether it’s an office or a home, or even a commercial property, think about a multitude of elements they can incorporate into the project that can reduce its impact on the planet.
Cindy O’Hara, managing director of Design Cayman and the lead architect on the new government building, lists just a few:
Situating the building to take advantage of natural recourses and indigenous landscape considerations;
Water efficiency and reuse;
The use of renewable energy or green power;
Minimizing the use of refrigerants that contain ozone depleting and direct global warming potential;
Considering materials and resources that include recycled content and rapidly renewable materials;
Improved indoor environmental quality, including maximizing day lighting, exterior views and thermal comfort while eliminating pollutants.
“These considerations among others are incorporated into the principles of LEED,” she says.

Read full story...

Nature imposes the real bottom line

by David Suzuki with Faisal Moola

In December, Canadian specialty TV channel Business News Network interviewed me about the climate summit in Copenhagen. My six-minute interview followed a five-minute live report from Copenhagen, about poor countries demanding more money to address climate change and rich countries pleading a lack of resources. Before and after those spots were all kinds of reports on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the price of gold and the loonie, and the implications of some new phone technology.

For me, this brought into sharp focus the inevitable failure of our negotiating efforts on climate change. BNN, like the New York-based Bloomberg channel, is a 24-hour-a-day network focused completely on business. These networks indicate that the economy is our top priority. And at Copenhagen, money dominated the discussions and the outcome.

But where is the 24-hour network dealing with the biosphere? As biological creatures, we depend on clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy, and biodiversity for our well-being and survival. Surely protecting those fundamental needs should be our top priority and should dominate our thinking and the way we live. After all, we are animals and our biological dependence on the biosphere for our most basic needs should be obvious.

The economy is a human construct, not a force of nature like entropy, gravity, or the speed of light or our biological makeup. It makes no sense to elevate the economy above the things that keep us alive. But that’s what our prime minister does when he claims we can’t even try to meet the Kyoto targets because that might have a detrimental effect on the economy.

This economic system is built on exploiting raw materials from the biosphere and dumping the waste back into the biosphere. And conventional economics dismisses all the “services” that nature performs to keep the planet habitable for animals like us as “externalities”. As long as economic considerations trump all other factors in our decisions, we will never work our way out of the problems we’ve created.

We often describe the triple bottom line – society, economy, and environment – as three intersecting circles of equal size. This is nonsense. The reality is that the largest circle should represent the biosphere. Within that, we have 30 million species, including us, that depend on it. Within the biosphere circle should be a much smaller circle, which is human society, and within that should be an even smaller circle, the economy. Neither of the inner circles should grow large enough to intersect with the bigger ones, but that’s what’s happening now as human societies and the economy hit their limits.

We also draw lines around property, cities, provinces, and countries. We take these so seriously that we are willing to fight and die to protect those borders. But nature pays no attention to human boundaries. Air, water, soil that blows across continents and oceans, migrating fish, birds and mammals, and windblown seeds cannot be managed within human strictures, yet all the discussions in Copenhagen were centred on countries that, in turn, were divided into rich and poor. In science-fiction movies where an alien from outer space attacks and kills humans, national differences disappear as we join forces to fight a common enemy. That is what we have to tap into to meet the climate crisis.

Nature is our home. Nature provides our most fundamental needs. Nature dictates limits. If we are striving for a truly sustainable future, we have to subordinate our activities to the limits that come from nature. We know how much carbon dioxide can be reabsorbed by all the green things in the oceans and on land, and we know we are exceeding those limits. That’s why carbon is building up in the atmosphere. So our goal is clear. All of humanity must find a way to keep emissions below the limits imposed by the biosphere.

The only equitable course is to determine the acceptable level of emissions on a global per capita basis. Those who fall below the line should be compensated for their small carbon footprint while those who are far above should be assessed accordingly. But the economy must be aligned with the limits imposed by the biosphere, not above them.

Sunday, February 14, 2010, HP Challenge Teens to 'Green' Their Schools

Philanthropy News Digest
February 13, 2010 and Hewlett-Packard have announced an initiative designed to challenge teens to find new and innovative ways of conserving energy while reducing waste in their schools.

More than a hundred thousand teens are expected to participate in the Increase Your Green campaign, which will run from February 15 through Earth Day on April 22. In addition to traditional "green" projects such as recycling programs and community gardens, teens will be encouraged to explore ways of using technology to save full story.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Light and the Bright Green City

By Alex Steffen
February 9, 2010

It's become a common slide at conferences: a map of the Earth at night, with the wealthier and denser areas shining brightly. Africa seen at night is largely dark, and this is often the point of the slide: look at how much energy some people have access to, and how little others do (which is true: almost 90% of Africans lack ready access to electricity, according to the World Bank), and, by inference, what gaps in economic prosperity persist.

But these maps don't actually display prosperity, or even energy use: instead, maps of brightness illustrate light pollution and energy waste. The blazing lights our satellites photograph while whizzing above us in their orbits, well, that's light that's serving no useful purpose (unless you want to think of our glowing cities as a form of art meant for distant eyes). Light seen from space is bouncing off illuminated surfaces, or being shone directly from bulbs aimed up. Neither is helping us on the ground see our cities full story.

'Mt. Trashmore' - Government mulls 12 bids

Cayman Net News
February 3, 2010

The George Town landfill, commonly known as Mount Trashmore, is said to be the highest point in Grand Cayman, and has long been a cause for concern. Government is now considering proposals to convert the waste material into energy.

“We have received 12 proposals and we are looking to award a contract to a company who can convert the waste products into renewal energy production, and get rid of that dump,” said Premier Mckeeva Bush.

Landfills produce a steady stream of methane as heaps of biodegradable materials decompose. This can be tapped and used as fuel to run power generators and vehicles as a supplement to conventional energy production.

Mount Trashmore is estimated to be about 27 years old, and is located on a 58-acre, Government-owned parcel of land. It is clearly visible to cruise ship passengers entering Grand Cayman, and is quickly running out of full story.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Deloitte and DoE to partner up

Caymanian Compass

A local firm has taken a step further in asserting its commitment to the environment. On 10 December 2009 Deloitte and the Department of Environment signed a memorandum of understanding to promote, assist and support increasing awareness and implementation of environmental projects and green initiatives.

Director of the Department of Environment, Mrs. Gina Ebanks-Petrie said that she was delighted to be able to work cooperatively with a company such as Deloitte to promote sustainable development concepts and projects.

“I think it is critical that government and private sector corporations begin to work jointly to ensure the continued viability of the resources and environmental systems on which our future well-being depends and I am grateful to Deloitte for their foresight and commitment,” she said.

The partnership will allow Deloitte and DoE to work together to identify, prioritize and provide technical assistance and funding to implement activities relating to the environment and to actively seek to network with other corporations who have similar green initiatives.

Monday, February 1, 2010

By Will @

We have discussed the tremendous leadership of the Maldives in the fight against climate change on numerous occassions, but this latest bit of news likely ought to make the US and other developed countries blush...

In advance of the January 31 deadline to submit mitigation targets under the new Copenhagen Accord, the Maldives has reinforced their goal of becoming carbon neutral in the next decade, declaring that they will reduce CO2 emissions 100% by 2020. This comes days after the US submitted their plans to cut emissions just 17% below 2005 levels (3% below 1990 levels) and the Europeans continue to stick with their 20% by 2020 target. These targets are not new, but as the international community continues to find it's feet again after the confusion of Copenhagen these submissions are a reminder of where the real leadership full story.