Declaring that everyone has the a part to play in making The Bahamas better, safer, cleaner and greener, Minister of Environment and Housing Romauld ‘Romi’ Ferreira this week challenged Rotarians and civic groups nationwide to pick a project, beautify a community and enter a competition that could earn them up to $10,000 dollars, prize money donated by Royal Caribbean International. Ferreira, an environmental lawyer by profession, addressed the Rotary Club of Southeast Nassau November 20, just minutes after tabling in the House of Assembly for the second time the most sweeping environmental legislation in the country’s history, ushering in an era of intense scrutiny of how resources are managed and land developed in the face of impending climate change events. His talk to Rotary was part of a road show to introduce phase two of the popular Be A Hero campaign that involved the environment minister and team reaching thousands of students in trips to 19 schools in New Providence. The current phase takes the get-involved and become a hero campaign to community associations.
“I challenge you,” he said. “I make this impassioned plea, get involved. I am so proud of the Be A Hero program and now we are taking it to the next level, moving from schools where we wanted to change the mind-set of young people to sensitize them to the role they can play in caring for their environment to community associations. Now, it will be up to you, up to Rotary Clubs and Kiwanis and fraternities and sororities and other church groups and civic organizations to identify a project that you can take on. Post the before and after pictures on all our social media pages, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and become environmental heroes.” Ferreira’s challenge at Southeast Rotary’s weekly meeting at East Villa restaurant in Nassau was among several appearances in the days since the current phase of Be A Hero Community Challenge was officially launched November 20 with the Kiwanis Club of Cable Beach, where the environment minister was a former president.
Ferreira has been making the rounds nearly daily, doing radio shows and TV, hitting all Tribune morning shows, Ed Fields Live and being interviewed at length by Wendall Jones on Issues of the Day with several other TV and radio engagements on the calendar. “This is a short competition with a tight deadline,” Ferreira reminds audiences. “You have to select and complete your project in time for the judging January 31.” Civic clubs, neighbourhood associations, church congregations, corporate groups or other organizations which want to participate can select from one of three categories – designing and building a water feature or cooling station in a public space, cleaning up and beautifying a park, abandoned building or transforming other eyesore or creating public art from recycled materials, including abandoned vehicle parts. If using parts from vehicles or other debris that is cluttering an area, the trash has to be hauled away and properly disposed of as part of the new art project.
“All the data in the world cannot teach us ethics,” Ferreira said. “If we are to combat climate change, we have to look at our total carbon footprint but we can only do that if everyone who is going to be affected or whose children and grandchildren are going to be affected stands up and plays a part. This is our turn and we must do the right thing for future generations. This is not our land. We are merely here to protect it for those who come after us.”
For more information on the campaign and how to enter, organisations, clubs and associations can go to Facebook/beahero.