Video: Senator Jeff Baron’s Earth Hour Speech

March 31, 2014

Bermuda played host to a series of events on Saturday night [Mar 29] in celebration of Earth Hour, joining in with more than 150 countries who utilized the day to bring attention to the effect that the use of fossil fuels has on the environment, with all participants encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour in the evening.

Following the Living Green Expo at Washington Mall, many Bermuda residents gathered at City Hall for live entertainment and a showcase of environmentally friendly and energy efficient goods from a number of vendors. At 8.30pm, the official time of Earth Hour, the Walk of Flame set off to light up the otherwise darkened streets of Hamilton with tea lights.

During the proceedings, Senator Jeff Baron delivered a speech encapsulating Bermuda’s involvement in the important day of environmental awareness. During his speech, Senator Baron said, “Earth Hour has swept the globe, drawing together hundreds of millions of people in 152 countries and territories spanning every continent.

“Bermuda will play its part tonight [Mar 29] and join millions of people across the world who switch lights off for an hour to raise awareness for the planet.

“We understand the challenges with limited resources, mainly oil reserves and our dependency on fossil fuels. We are looking for innovative ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels here in Bermuda. We have seen an increase in alternative and renewable generation. We will continue to support and encourage innovation in the energy sector and a green economy.

“We also recognize that the most cost effective way to reduce or need for fossil fuel is the easiest and most basic approach, which is to conserve energy. It goes without saying that the easiest way to reduce the cost of energy that we use is not to use it needlessly, to use what we must wisely.

Senator Jeff Baron’s speech at Earth Hour celebrations:

“We are acutely aware of all of the rising costs of fossil fuel derived energy, not just economic but environmental and social costs as well. In the true spirit of innovation, finding better solutions for existing needs, the Government has established the Bermuda Energy Working Group.

“This group consists of stakeholders such as the representatives from the renewable energy industry, BELCO, Greenrock, and other NGOs. Among their objectives is to develop, in collaboration, a strategic energy plan for the island.

“We realize that much change needs to happen internally. In an effort to be accountable in all regards, we have established the Government Sustainable Energy Committee. The Committee consists of various government departments charged with conservation and maximizing energy efficiency in Government owned facilities. The Committee will also change practices for the purchasing and procurement of new equipment to incorporate energy efficiency standards.

“Therefore, this year let us embrace innovation. It is a symbol of our ability to adapt and change how we use our shrinking resources while remaining conscious about how we take care of our environment. Earth Hour should encourage us to adapt and prevail through these economic hard times and environmental challenges.”

Senator Jeffrey Baron’s full statement follows below:

Thank you for having me here today to join in the observance of Earth Hour 2014.

It is with great pleasure that I speak today to show our support for Earth Hour and, Greenrock – under the new leadership this year of their President Gordon Johnson. Greenrock has done Bermuda a great service by bringing businesses, Government, NGOs and our people together to show our commitment to the planet.

Seven years ago, the Earth Hour project was started. It has grown to become the world’s largest mass participation event in history. From Sydney Australia to over 7,000 cities. From 1 country to 7 continents. From 2 million to hundreds of millions of people.

Earth Hour’s mission is to bring people together through a symbolic hour-long event. It is to galvanize people into taking action beyond the hour, and to create an interconnected global community sharing the mutual goal of creating a sustainable future for the planet. This global, large scale switch off, turning off non-essential lighting for Earth Hour is a testament to the grass roots movement to move us all toward a more sustainable lifestyle.

Earth Hour has swept the globe, drawing together hundreds of millions of people in 152 countries and territories spanning every continent.

Bermuda will play its part tonight and join millions of people across the world who switch lights off for an hour – to raise awareness for the planet.

We understand the challenges with limited resources, mainly oil reserves and our dependency on fossil fuels. We are looking for innovative ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels here in Bermuda. We have seen an increase in alternative and renewable generation. We will continue to support and encourage innovation in the energy sector and a green economy.

We also recognize that the most cost effective way to reduce or need for fossil fuel is the easiest and most basic approach, which is to conserve energy. It goes without saying that the easiest way to reduce the cost of energy that we use is not to use it needlessly, to use what we must wisely.

We are acutely aware of all of the rising costs of fossil fuel derived energy, not just economic but environmental and social costs as well. In the true spirit of innovation, finding better solutions for existing needs, the Government has established the Bermuda Energy Working Group. This group consists of stakeholders such as the representatives from the renewable energy industry, BELCO, Greenrock, and other NGOs. Among their objectives is to develop, in collaboration, a strategic energy plan for the island.

We realize that much change needs to happen internally. In an effort to be accountable in all regards, we have established the Government Sustainable Energy Committee. The Committee consists of various government departments charged with conservation and maximizing energy efficiency in Government owned facilities. The Committee will also change practices for the purchasing and procurement of new equipment to incorporate energy efficiency standards.
Reduction in our energy usage not only saves us money but it also affects the quality of our lives. Quality in our lives relates to not only costs but also to our impact on the environment and how we choose to leave the earth for our future generations.

Therefore, this year let us embrace innovation. It is a symbol of our ability to adapt and change how we use our shrinking resources while remaining conscious about how we take care of our environment. Earth Hour should encourage us to adapt and prevail through these economic hard times and environmental challenges.

We have all come out to show our support and commitment to Earth Hour 2014. I commend all of the local businesses who are out tonight, to show their commitment to Earth Hour and to showcase their innovation and ability. I hope that you had a chance to visit and support those who have showcased their goods and services at the Greenrock Living Expo located in the Washington Properties. These showcases are a testament to the green economy here in Bermuda, here to provide you with innovative environmental solutions.

Our commitment to Earth Hour and the drive to reduce of dependency on fossil fuels cannot waiver.

Together we are making a difference in our own neighborhoods, in our country and across the globe,

I look forward to joining with the people of Bermuda at the Greenrock Living Green Expo to celebrate with the rest of the world – Earth Hour 2014.

Thank you and enjoy the evening.

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