Minister of the Environment and Housing, the Hon. Romauld S. Ferreira joined the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) at the Crush Theater, Atlantis, Paradise Island, to view a December 8 screening of ‘Chasing Corals’ — a documentary exploring why coral reefs are not thriving in their marine habitats and instead are dying early because of climate change. The Nature Conservancy’s Director Shenique Smith described ‘Chasing Corals’ as “an ocean adventure film that reveals the story of a team of photographers, scientists, and other experts who discover and try to capture one of the world’s largest coral bleaching events.” She added that the documentary can be followed on social media (#chasingcorals and #naturecaribbean). Minister Ferreira encouraged Bahamians to embrace every opportunity to connect with the environment.
He noted, “Everybody in this country knows that as a nation, we have a deficit. When I say ‘deficit’, I mean we have a ‘national deficit’. Most countries around the world also operate from the perspective of a national deficit. In our country as individuals, we have what I call ‘a deficit of spirit’. When I say a deficit of spirit, I mean we aren’t really connected to each other, and we aren’t really connected to the environment. “This is a travesty because the truth of the matter is that we really are. This is why it’s such a pleasure to be here with all of you because somewhere inside of all of you, there is an innate sense that you are connected, which is what drives you to service,” said Minister Ferreira. “I am the Minister of the Environment and Housing, and when you really look at it, our Ministry is responsible for the well-being of our citizens.” Minister Ferreira further explained the challenges of the Ministry of the Environment: that according to the Department of Statistics, Bahamian households on average are headed by single women, who typically earn about $17,000 or less a year, and are raising children without the added support of their children’s father.
He asked how do we as a nation include these women and children to further engage in protecting their environment for their children and themselves? “Our challenge is how do we get the average household, the average person, the average Bahamian, to feel a greater connection to the environment, to care about it? How do we make that possible? Said Minister Ferreira. “Because we have taken on the challenge of improving the well-being of the citizens of The Bahamas, we’ve set about three very important initiatives which most of you would be aware of. One of them is the ‘New Providence Clean Up Campaign’, which is closely connected to the New Providence Landfill, which is accepting Expressions of Interest (EOI) right now to solve the chronic issues at the Landfill; the situation at Clifton Pier which warrants attention and concern and we are addressing it; and third but not least the legislative vacuum that we find ourselves in at the Ministry of the Environment.”
Minister Ferreira also spoke about the Ministry’s Tree Planting Initiative, as part of a global outreach to plant 25 million trees worldwide, of which The Bahamas has committed to planting 10,000 trees. He also addressed Rotarians at the Rotary Club of West Nassau, earlier that day, to gain their support for protection of the environment and for the Ministry’s programmes and initiatives.