By Jonathan Starling

This year saw Earth Hour return home to City Hall, as well as a repeat of our 5k Fun Glow Walk & Run throughout the streets of the city.

With around 400 participants in the 5k Fun Glow Walk & Run, the streets went dark as street lights went off, only to be lit up again by people power in the form of wearable LEDs that can be reused going forward.

The theme for Earth Hour 2017 was ‘Keeping Up With Climate Change’ and was celebrated in 187 countries with over 3,100 landmarks and monuments switching off their lights to demonstrate solidarity.

See our Earth Hour video on YouTube here!

Earth Hour 2018 will be held on Saturday, March 31st and we are already starting planning for this event, hoping it will be even bigger than before!

Did you participate in Earth Hour 2017 in Bermuda? Share your photos with Greenrock on Facebook!

Do you have feedback on the event? Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Jonathan Starling

On World Meteorological Day (March 23rd), the World Meteorological Organisation released its annual ‘State of the Global Climate’, providing a review of 2016 and initial observations for 2017. While these are global observations, the implications are relevant to Bermuda.

  1. 2016 was the warmest year on record: ‘...a remarkable 1.1°C above the pre-industrial period, which is 0.6°C above the previous record set in 2015.”
  2. Globally averaged sea surface temperatures were also the warmest on record. This not only threatens Bermuda’s reefs, but also will have consequences for hurricanes.
  3. Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere broke new records.
  4. Each of the 16 years since 2001 has been at least 0.4°C above the long-term average for the 1961-1990 base period (used by the WMO as a reference for climate change monitoring), with global temperatures continuing to be consistent with a warming trend of 0.1-0.2°C per decade.
  5. Global sea levels reached new record highs in 2016. For a relatively low-lying island like Bermuda, this could have very serious consequences.
  1. Global sea ice extent dropped more than 4 million km2 below average in November - ‘an unprecedented anomaly for that month’.

In addition to these record breaking events, 2016 also saw severe droughts in Southern and Eastern Africa and Central America.

Indications for 2017 so far include growing evidence that ocean heat content may have increased even more than previously reported (resulting in unprecedented and irreversible die-offs among the coral reefs of the world, most notably the catastrophic extensive bleaching of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef). Additionally, provisional data also indicates that there has been no change to the rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

While 2016 was an extreme year, with a strong El Nino event, indications are that 2017 will potentially see a repeat El Nino event as well as see continued impacts of climate change, including potential shifts in wider oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns with uneven consequences - for example, some areas such as Canada and the USA have experienced unseasonably balmy conditions, other areas such as the Middle East and North Africa have experienced unseasonably cold conditions so far in 2017. In the USA alone over 11,700 warm temperature records were broken or tied in February, and parts of Australia experienced high temperature records. If patterns like this continue there will likely be implications for Bermuda tourism as new destinations open up, while local conditions potentially worsen.

The entry into force of the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on November 4th, 2016 did mark a huge step forward in guiding the world in addressing climate change by curbing greenhouse gas emissions. It is vital that the Paris Agreement is implemented - and we must seek to even go beyond it.

This year the theme of Earth Hour is ‘keeping up with climate change’. The report by the WMO shows us that the impact of climate change is happening now.

Bermuda may be small, however we have a role to play in this too. This is especially the case as an island nation we are more likely to be impacted negatively from climate change from a larger or continental country. As a country we not only have an ethical obligation to act, but also a more selfish reason to act in as much as Bermuda will be greatly negatively impacted by climate change if it isn’t checked.

At a minimum Greenrock believes the Paris Agreement should be extended to Bermuda, just as the Kyoto Protocol was. We also believe that climate change needs to be a priority of the Government, looking at ensuring our infrastructure is climate proofed and setting out both caps on greenhouse gas emissions and targets for phasing out fossil fuels.

Each of us also has a role in becoming more ‘green’ in reducing our energy consumption, reduce the amount of waste we produce and be more aware of food miles in our purchasing decisions. 

By Jonathan Starling 

Greenrock was invited to review the Baseline Report by Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Analysis & Monitoring Programme, which can be read in its entirety online here.

The report makes for some distressing reading for anyone concerned about the environment. We knew that fish catches were too high in the 1970s and had not recovered fully in the 1980s - what this report indicates is that the large predatory fishes, the apex predators of our waters, still haven't recovered and remain at critical population levels. Apex predators such as our groupers/rockfish are crucial for our nearshore ecosystems - they are the tigers or lions of our local environment. 

The ocean is the cornerstone of Earth's life support system - it shapes climate and the weather - and our nearshore not only feeds us but protects us from storm events. The argument is simple - if we lose our large predatory fish, then we will lose our coral reefs, and that will have dire consequences for our future. 

Environmentalists are fond of the saying 'think globally, act locally'. That is very relevant to what this report speaks to. Our reefs are already stressed - and likely to see more stress - due to rising sea temperatures, rising sea levels, ocean acidification and ocean deoxygenation - all consequences of global climate change. Added to this stress is the lionfish invasion and the critical population levels of our large predators.

We can act locally by actively caring for our nearshore and taking steps to reduce our own contributions to greenhouse gases.”

What a great month it’s been! I’ve been hitting the pavement making new friends and connections all for expansion and enhancement of our schools programmes.

We’ve welcomed two new Eco Schools this month. Devonshire Pre-School and Dellwood Middle School have both taken on the Eco Schools programme and Dellwood has also shown interest in the Water Explorer Programme. I’m so excited to have them on board and I’m looking forward to seeing their learners get excited about the sustainability.

This month has also seen us build and strengthen relationships with other organisations within the community. We had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of Landrover BAR’s 11th Hour Racing Zone in Dockyard. This interactive exhibit comes with lesson plans designed to ignite young people’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

Eco-schools can spend a day in the west if they travel further into Dockyard and visit Dolphin Quest. Learning about their education programs which are tied to the Cambridge curriculum is a great supplement to our Biodiversity and Water pathways and we’re happy to have them as a delivery partner.

If the west is too far for schools then Bermuda Zoological Society is an ideal option. BZS’s programmes are complementary to our Biodiversity and Water pathways and are compatible with the Cambridge system as well. It’s good to know that our students are able to have quality educational experiences outside of the classroom. I can’t wait to see what next month brings!

Greenrock is proud to be one of the four charities selected by End-to-End to benefit from this year’s fundraising drive. This support will go a long way to supporting our environmental education programmes for the 2017-2018 school year. The monies raised will be used specifically for our Eco-Schools and Young Reporters for the Environment programmes.

Greenrock is joined in this by the Adult Education School, Age Concern and Raleigh as the other charities benefitting this year. Additionally, a fifth charity has the opportunity to receive up to $30,000 through this year’s People’s Choice Special Anniversary Award. Charities that may win this are YouthNet, BUEI, Society for the Blind and the Duke of Edinburgh programme.

We invite all of our supporters to sign up for this year’s End to End – it helps Greenrock and four other great charities!

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