Let's Clean it Up!

Here in Bermuda, we are so fortunate to live on an island surrounded by clear waters and colourful coral reefs. Our beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. Our location and beauty result in many of us vacationing where we live. I wonder how many of us take this for granted. Unfortunately, Bermuda is not nearly as pristine as it could be. Some of the problems and ongoing challenges our island faces are loss of natural habitat, use of harmful chemicals such as Roundup weed killer and the presence of litter.

 

Litter is seen throughout our island – along our roadsides, railway tracks, in our parks, along our beaches and floating in our Ocean. Considering we will be holding a world class event here (The America’s Cup), our Island is looking far from world class.

Research shows that people who drop litter have low self-esteem and low self-worth. It also shows that those of us who take pride in ourselves will also take pride in our neighbourhoods. Litter is one of the first signs of social decay. If we don’t care about litter on our streets, in our parks, in our oceans and on our beaches, we are unlikely to care about other environmental issues that negatively impact on our lives, our communities and society.

Love Where You Live

England is running a clean-up campaign called Love Where You Live. Isn’t that lovely? If you loved where you lived, surely you wouldn’t trash your neighbourhood — right? Respect for our planet begins with respect for ourselves and respect for our neighbourhoods. On an Island this small I find it hard to determine where a neighbourhood begins and ends. We really should be thinking of our entire Island as our neighbourhood.

Thank you to KBB (Keep Bermuda Beautiful) and all their amazing volunteers who put in massive efforts cleaning up our parks and beaches as well, but isn’t it a shame that these clean-up efforts need to exist in the first place? If our Island was litter free, clean-up efforts could go towards other negative environmental impacts such as removing Indian laurel, Mexican pepper and other invasive plants.

A direction I would love to see my Island moving is away from plastic bags. During 2014 I visited the Big Island of Hawaii and was so surprised to see how litter free it was. Hawaii has banned the use of plastic bags. This one action has significantly reduced plastic in our environment.

During September 2016, my friends and I were four of more than 500 people who took part in an island wide Ocean clean up. During this one afternoon, more than 10,000 lbs of rubbish was removed from our Ocean and shoreline.

 

When ever you clean up litter or make the decision to keep your lawns and gardens chemical free, you are making a huge and immediate positive impact on the beauty and safety of our Island, so – thank you!  

 

Here we are approaching 2017, and we are still failing to live our lives in a way that reduces our environmental impact whilst improving the health and happiness of ourselves and each other. Moving towards a healthier, stronger and cleaner Island culture begins with each one of us. Our beautiful Island is not nearly as clean and litter free as it should be. Change is clearly necessary, and it can only happen when we work together.

© 2016 by Jessica Riederer