Who is a green person in the Caribbean? It’s someone who is doing his or her part to help the environment — from conservation to renewable energy. And for Earth Day 2015, we decided to put together a list of the Caribbean’s 12 “greenest people,” those who are helping to make a big difference in protecting the region’s greatest — and most important resource: its environment. These are the people making the Caribbean a greener place right now. Who do you think is making the biggest contribution? Tell us in the comments section.
No, he’s not from the Caribbean, but perhaps no one has made a bigger impact in this area in recent years than Branson, in large part for convening last year’s Caribbean Conservation Summit on Necker Island, launching perhaps the most ambitious marine conservation effort the region has ever seen — and a major regional drive on the use of renewable fuels.
Ewald Biemans was working to “green” his Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts in Aruba long before it was cool. And it’s the kind of effort that has sent ripples across the Caribbean’s largest industry: tourism. If the region is to become serious about green, from energy to conservation, its hotels will have to play a large role. And they can learn a lot from him.
A native of Bermuda, Hinds is Bepassionate about islands, and passionate about sustainability. She’s the director of sustainability at regional design firm OBMI and advises hotel and real estate properties around the region on sustainable operations and design. While sustainability is a big buzz word in the region, Hinds is one of the people who is truly putting it into practice — and helping others do so, too.
It’s not a secret — the Caribbean’s coral reefs are dwindling. But hope is not lost, in large part thanks to the work of people like Augusto Montbrun of Bonaire. Montbrun leads a visionary programme at the Buddy Dive Resort to help replant and regrow coral, in partnership with the Coral Restoration Foundation. Now, the programme is cultivating staghorn and elkhorn corals and creating new coral nurseries. Now it’s time to expand this project across the region.
They’re some of the oldest creatures on earth. And now Caribbean sea turtles are critically endangered. Across the region, with help from the Sea Turtle Conservancy, more and more people are tracking turtles, working to prevent poaching and encourage awareness. That’s nowhere more true than in Nevis, where Lemuel Pemberton has grown what began as a one-man crusade into a thriving project to protect the island’s nesting sea turtle population.
Making the Caribbean greener also means advocacy. And in the British Virgin Islands, Charlotte McDevitt has helped highlight the issues facing the territory’s environment and worked to offer solutions. McDevitt is the executive director of GreenVI, a nonprofit that aims to “demonstrate the principles and benefits of sustainable living in the beautiful BVI – through education and practical projects – along the themes of waste, education, energy and water.”
In the Caribbean, the blue is as important as the green. And that’s something embodied by Kemit-Amon Lewis, coral conservation manager for The Nature Conservancy in St Croix. Lewis has been involved in everything from coral restoration work to leading a local initiative for “reef-sponsible seafood” in the Virgin Islands.
The Aruba Premier has become rather well known in the region for this big idea: to make the island of Aruba fully energy independent (in other words, fully reliant on green energy) by 2020. It’s not an easy process, but it’s one on which Aruba and its government have been making steady progress. Now it’s time for the rest of the region to follow suit.
Andrew Myers and Emmy Aston
It is one of the hidden jewels of the Caribbean, and after years of struggle, Montserrat is finally starting to emerge from the ashes of its now-famous 1995 volcanic eruption. But Montserrat’s renaissance isn’t just above ground. Andrew Myers and Emmy Aston are working to build a new marine habitat in the waters off the coast, in partnership with the Reef Ball Foundation, which creates “reef balls,” artificial reefs that help protect the island’s marine life.
Beverly Deikel and Patris Oscar
Beverly Deikel, a native of the United States, is in love with Dominica, and it shows. Joined by her partner Patris Oscar, a native of Dominica, she is on the front lines of the Nature Island’s environment, from saving sea turtles to developing new ways to power Caribbean hotels. The pair owns the Rosalie Bay Resort, one of the most eco-friendly resorts in the region.