Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Green is in

There is not a day that passes where i don't hear people speaking about green issues. Even on the tours people remark when they see us separating our garbage. Green is the colour of today and its about time i think. Recently a small organization came to Antigua to see about possibly setting up their very Green company here instead of in Canada. Green Focus http://www.greenfocus.com/ asked for a meeting with me to discuss ideas and see how and where i thought they would be able to help environmental causes here on island. Gabe, the creator of Green Focus worked in Antigua during the big gaming industry boom and wants to see if his concept and new organization can make fast and positive strides here in Antigua. I guess using Antigua as a testing ground for Green Focus concepts serves many purposes, but helping create more environmental awareness and action here is something that we all should be excited about. We had a great meeting brainstorming and I think that his idea and company is viable with a little tweaking. Lets hope he does set it up here on island.
On another note i went to Veranda Resort to see how Adventure Antigua and the hotel may work more closely together. They received plenty of bad press for some very bad environmental practices and like many people or organizations that get caught doing bad things, i think Veranda is trying hard to make things right. I think that any development that cuts red mangrove plants in this day and age in Antigua should be severely punished and there is no excuse IMHO.
If you search through my blog using the search function on the top left you will see many posts showing how people do damage to Antigua's environment and mangrove systems. This one for example or this one from a different angle. A few lines up I say "in this day and age" because it was the norm for most hotels to cut mangrove down until very recently. Even hotels and homes next door to Veranda cut mangroves historically so that they could have water access. That being said, they did it recently and have had to pay the price. Boycotts are still being called for and probably making a dent in their bookings. They are now trying harder than many hotels in our nation to be green. A little late i agree but trying nevertheless. Cutting down a basket ball patch of mangroves to build a massive hotel, employing many local people and THEN turning green will always be controversial. What is interesting is how many of their systems and designs are organized in a way to be environmentally friendly. They provide a very large base of employment for local people and the trickle down economic impact of this development is extremely significant. Was Antigua better off without it....? I think so, but that is my personal opinion. Was it inevitable that another big development was going to come along? Yes. In fact, if you have been reading my blogs for a long time then you know that i think there is no end in sight at all for hotel development. Our nation does not see undeveloped beach front land as an asset. Until that day comes along, then i think developers that try to run their hotels in a green manner are better than the alternative. Green Globe is an organization that i spoke about after staying at Carlisle Bay. They are the number one organization internationally that labels hotels as "green". Both carlisle bay and the Veranda are working with Green Globe, and after being to both hotels i agree that their efforts are clearly visible. Does any hotel have to spend money to be seen as eco being eco friendly by an organization such as Green Globe? No. Is it the right thing to do? Yes. The Veranda resort is in its infancy and still under construction while some of the hotel is open. I think it was a terrible mistake for them to have cut the mangroves on that West beach, but they did it and now have to move on. I hope that they can show us how well they are running a green hotel when they are all finished. Stay tuned i guess.
By the way, comment if you want to. I know that there are one or two people who will never have anything but harsh words for Veranda and its management. Comments like those are welcome here if you think it helps the island and it's tourism. I also welcome anyone from Veranda to add links and or news or more info. People don't like it when companies are silent. Use this site to comment if you like.