The Bad

It’s official – 2016 is now the hottest year on record, with data from NASA and the UK Met Office showing global temperatures were 0.07c higher than the previous record breaking year. Which was 2015.

This makes 2016 the third year in a row to break global temperature records.

Unfortunately, this will unlikely come as a surprise to any readers of our newsletter over the last twelve months, where monthly temperature records were consistently broken and written about here – and scientists were predicting as early as the spring of 2016 that it was likely going to be a record breaking year.

With the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency, it is not clear what the fate for the Paris Agreement will be – President Trump having been critical of climate chance science, to the point of calling a hoax. Since his inauguration we have seen the removal of climate change from the White House’s website, and revelations of plans to ‘reform’ the way the Environmental Protection Agency uses science. 

What is clear is that President Trump will likely roll back environmental regulations in the USA, and remove the USA from global treaties on climate change – or at the very least reduce commitments under them. This is a worrying time for environmentalists and everyone concerned about the impact of climate change this century.

The Good

Fortunately it’s not all doom and gloom on the climate change front.

In Scotland, the Climate Change Act has continued to see successes, with the Scotland realising their 2020 goal, of reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 42% (of 1990 levels), six years early in 2014. This has led to a revised 2032 goal of reducing GHG emissions by 66% for 2030.

While there are valid criticisms to be made about the Scottish climate change plan, what it does show is the importance of a Climate Change Act to set out clear targets and a pathway to realising them.

And in India, a step forward in carbon capturing technology has been made, with carbon emitted from a coal-fired thermal power station being successfully converted into baking soda. While we support a transition away from fossil fuels altogether, this development is still welcome news.

In other good news, the cost of renewable energy has continued to decrease, with the Canadian Globe and Mail reporting that utility-scale solar and land-based wind power are now competitive with both coal and natural gas – with the trends indicating that the renewables will get even cheaper over the next few years.

Earlier this month we learned about a public meeting being held by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to discuss the results of their Glyphosate Monitoring Study.

This study evaluated the exposure risks from Glyphosate use, and looked at the human health risks involved, looking at:

  • -       Groundwater, pond water and potable water;
  • -       Soil and sediments;
  • -       Air samples; and
  • -       Foodstuffs from supermarket shelves.

This report concluded that the human health risks from Glyphosate use were within safe limits, and recommended the lifting on the ban on using Glyphosate that was introduced in May 2015.

Here at Greenrock we took the opportunity to review the report and conclusions developed by the Government, and consulted the relevant literature and evidence base concerning Glyphosate.

We reached the conclusion that the study in itself was insufficient to justify lifting the ban on its use, citing concerns in particular about the need to consider Glyphosate’s impacts from a wider environmental impact rather than a purely human health impact.

Of particular concern to us was the lack of consideration about the impact on bee populations.

We released a position paper on our concerns and urged our supporters and members to attend the public meeting to voice concerns, as well as to write to MPs and the Minister to urge the ban on glyphosate to be maintained.

The public meeting was well attended (standing room only) and Greenrock were pleased by the Minister’s announcement that he will not be lifting the ban for the immediate time being.

While we welcome the decision to maintain the ban on glyphosate for the time being, Greenrock will remain vigilant – and we ask that all those concerned with the potential reintroduction to write to their MPs and the Ministry.

The Ministry will also be collecting questions concerning their study and glyphosate generally – we ask that you take advantage of this and email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Greenrock is commending the Department of Energy for holding the island’s second ever 2016 Energy Summit, saying that “it is time for Bermuda to move from aspiration to action.”

Greenrock Executive Director Jonathan Starling said, “We were happy to participate in the planning of this event as we view conversations on Bermuda’s energy future to be of critical importance for our island.

By Davida Morris

It’s a New Year and we are feeling positive about the forward strides we are making with our education programmes. This month sees the roll out of our latest programme Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE).

Young Reporters for the Environment

YRE is a sister programme to Eco Schools in that it is offered by the Foundation for Environmental Education. This programme gives young people the opportunity to put their selves at the forefront of environmental issues by having them research an environmental or sustainability issue they are interested in and feel needs more attention. They then research the topic and propose solutions based on their research in the form of a written article, a video story or a photo story.

To assist students in the process we have teamed up with local journalists who will impart their skills and knowledge to students in a series of workshops. We’re so excited to give young people this empowering experience because they truly have the potential to change the world around them.

Eco-Schools

The New Year also sees us doing something else that’s new. We’re rolling out our first ever Eco Schools survey. We’re asking all our Eco Club members across the island to tell us their opinions, share with us their knowledge and what they have done for the environment. It’s the first time we’ve done such a survey and we’re looking forward to seeing what kind of impact we’re making.

There are more new things to reveal but I’ll save them for a later date. Just know that we are always looking for new ways to improve and enhance our programmes for Bermudian students and one of the ways we do just that is by seeking knowledge through professional development.

FEE Visit

This last full week of January saw Greenrock welcome back to Bermuda Mrs Laura Hickey. Laura is the Associate Vice President, Education Programmes at the National Wildlife Federation; the Senior Director of Eco Schools USA and sits on the board of Foundation for Environmental Education. Laura visited us to provide mentorship to both our Eco Schools and Young Reporters for the Environment programmes and I am so grateful for her visit.

Knowledge was imparted, questions asked and answered all with the aim of ensuring that Greenrock is able to deliver the best programmes possible. After Laura’s visit I am feeling as energised and excited as I did after the National Operators Meeting in November so I am confident that the rest of the academic year and the years to come are going to be great for learning about sustainability.

Greenrock said they were “surprised to learn about the proposal to introduce car rentals,” and said they “would support legislation – such as this proposed amendment – being subject to a more pro-active public consultation approach.”

The environmental organisations’s comments follow after the Motor Car Amendment [No. 2] Act 2016 was tabled in the House of Assembly, with the Bill seeking to amend the Motor Car Act 1951 to include provisions for a motor car rental scheme.

With the start of the New Year, we are busy working on making sure Earth Hour 2017 is a success.

This will be our ninth year organising Earth Hour in Bermuda, and the tenth year for Earth Hour overall – the first event having been held just in Sydney, Australia.

This year Earth Hour falls on Saturday, March 25th.

As we have for the last few Earth Hours, we plan to hold a 5k Fun Glow Walk and Run throughout the City – and to do this we need your help!

In order to hold this Walk and Run event, we need road marshals to help ensure the route throughout the City is safe for all participants.

As a road marshal you will help provide a safe course for our runners. Marshalls are positioned throughout the course, usually at intersections, and are responsible for managing traffic and directing participants along the route.

We need your help to ensure a successful Earth Hour – please let us know if you can help!

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let us know!

This June saw a close of another excellent year of our Eco-Schools Programme, marked by our second ever Eco-Schools Awards Ceremony.

Greenrock was pleased that the Minister of Education, the Honourable Wayne Scott, was able to attend the ceremony and provide a welcoming speech. The Shadow Minister, Lovitta Foggo, was also available, and recognised. 

The New Year offers us an opportunity to take stock of the last twelve months while also looking forward to the year ahead. 

Here at Greenrock we have seen some changes over the last twelve months, especially with a new School Programme Manager taking over our environmental education programmes. The next twelve months should see us consolidating our environmental education programmes, including our newest programme Young Reporters for the Environment.

On a global level, the impacts of both Brexit and the election of President Trump remain uncertain for the third sector in Bermuda, and, importantly for Greenrock, for global environmental issues.

Much was said by the new President of the USA during his election campaign attacking climate science, and his subsequent appointments to environmental or science positions in his Cabinet, along with additional comments by him, have given a strong indication that he will reverse the progress made by his predecessor as regards climate change and the environment generally.

What remains unclear however is how much of an impact his policies and actions will have on the global push to execute the Paris Agreement and what impact his domestic policies will have on the USA’s own contributions to climate change.

Here at Greenrock we will continue to observe developments and take an active role locally as we continue to deliver our environmental education programmes and advocate for sustainable solutions for Bermuda.

The year ahead will no doubt be an interesting one…

On June 30th Greenrock were delighted to be awarded a certificate from the Centre on Philanthropy recognising our membership and long-term commitment to Bermuda's Third Sector.

Greenrock has been a member of the Centre on Philanthropy for at least ten years and we remain committed to them going forward.

Greenrock said they were “surprised to learn about the proposal to introduce car rentals,” and said they “would support legislation – such as this proposed amendment – being subject to a more pro-active public consultation approach.”

The environmental organisations’s comments follow after the Motor Car Amendment [No. 2] Act 2016 was tabled in the House of Assembly, with the Bill seeking to amend the Motor Car Act 1951 to include provisions for a motor car rental scheme.

cross-island-aerialGreenrock has accepted the invitation by the Cross Island Committee to join them and provide a key environmental voice.

The Cross Island Committee was set up to engage the community to get ideas for the use of the nine acres of land being created at Dockyard's South Basin for the America's Cup Village, following the America's Cup.

About Greenrock

According to The Footprint Network, which measures the ability of the planet to produce resources and absorb waste, our resource use and waste production is 60% more than the earth can produce or absorb annually.

This overshoot is the result of decisions that we each make every day. We seek to generate debate and to influence people to change their behaviour.We strive to be catalysts: Success for us is when we can Change the Mindset so that sustainable use of resources is included in decision-making for individuals, government or businesses. ... read more


Where to find Us

Suite 324, 48 Par-La-Ville Rd,
Hamilton HM11, Bermuda

Telephone: 1-441-747-ROCK (7625)
Email: info@greenrock.org
Website: www.greenrock.org