Governor’s Office, home go green

Governor Stuart Jack and his staff have undertaken to do what they can to protect and preserve the environment.

Mr. Jack

Mr. Jack

At the Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week, Mr. Jack announced he has signed the Chamber’s Environmental Pledge on behalf of the Governor’s Office.

But the Environmental Pledge is only part of a previously begun programme to make the Government House and the Governor’s Office more environmentally friendly.

‘Climate change is a global issue which requires a global response from every country,’ Mr. Jack said. ‘It is important that well play our role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions now.’

Emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have led to increased levels of water vapour, carbon dioxide and other gases in the earth’s atmosphere, which in turn act to retain heat in a process similar to that in a greenhouse.

Head of the Governor’s Office Simon Tonge said the governor has committed to reducing substantially the greenhouse emissions at the Government House and the Governor’s.

‘The aim is to be carbon neutral by 2012,’ said Mr. Tonge. ‘Many low-cost steps have already been taken, such as fitting compact fluorescent light bulbs and turning down the air-conditioning to 79F.’

In addition to being more environmentally friendly, those moves will also save money.

‘Monitoring utility bills shows that thousands of dollars will be saved within a year,’ said Mr. Tonge.

Another green step at Government House involves reducing waste and reusing or recycling more.

‘Fewer bottles are being used following a shift to CayBrew’s barrels of beer and reusable bottles for receptions, and aluminium cans are being recycled,’ Mr. Tonge said.

There is also an effort at the Government House to buy more local produce and other produce with less packaging.

The less packaging used for imported products, the less emissions of greenhouse gases are created in transporting them here, Mr. Tonge said.

An inexpensive home composting system to turn kitchen waste and waste paper into compost for the garden has been ordered for Government House. The roof guttering system will also be plumbed into the irrigation system to save on water.

‘Combined with replacing thirsty imported plants with endemic Cayman varieties, this will mean a huge reduction in the mains water usage and bills,’ said Mr. Tonge.

A low-energy external lighting system and the options for a solar water heating system are being investigated for Government House, Mr. Tonge said.

The United Nation’s Inter-Government Panel on Climate Change has reported that the Earth has warmed by 0.74 degrees Celsius over the last 100 years, with 0.40 of that occurring since the 1970s.

One of the results of global warming is rising sea levels due to the melting of the polar ice caps. And although there is no evidence that warmer sea temperatures have caused more hurricanes to form, there is evidence that the warmer seas have caused more intense hurricanes.

‘Low-lying island states like the Cayman Islands are particularly vulnerable to the threat from stronger hurricanes and rising sea-levels,’ said Mr. Tonge.

Mr. Jack encouraged government departments and the private sector individuals and organisations to sign up for the Chamber’s Environmental Pledge.

‘We all have a moral responsibility to protect the Earth’s climate for our children and future generations,’ Mr. Jack said. ‘There are many free or cheap actions we can take that will not even affect our quality of life.

‘And even the last few climate change sceptics out there won’t be averse to keeping dollars in their pockets that are currently being wasted.’

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