the Governor's Speeches

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Be Part Of A Green Sint Maarten

Remarks delivered by Eugene B. Holiday Governor of Sint Maarten at
Sint Maarten Pride Foundation’s annual World Environment day/ World
Ocean day cocktail party

Ladies en Gentlemen, good evening, I am pleased to join and share a few words with you in honor of our global environment; and in doing so to join others around the world in celebrating world environment day and world ocean day. 

The decisions of the United Nations to single out June 5th as World Environment day and June 8th as World Oceans day to draw attention and increase awareness to the importance of preserving our natural habitat are significant in themselves. However, the significance of decisions only come to life when people take action. It is therefore appropriate that we put our hands together for the Sint Maarten Pride Foundation for organizing this event this evening and for calling our attention to our local environment as part of the broader global environment. Ladies and gentlemen, from a global perspective Sint Maarten is but a dot in our planet’s mystical ecosystems of flora, wildlife and oceans. Ecosystems which are delicately balanced.

Here in Sint Maarten we are privileged to have some  magnificent pieces of the world’s ecological treasures, in our beaches, our lagoon, our fresh ponds, our once great salt pond, our flamboyant trees, and our beautiful hillsides to name but a few. It is in honor and celebration of the importance of these national natural treasures and the need to protect and preserve them that we are here this evening.  These treasures are ours but also part of the wider interconnected global ecosystem. How we treat our environment will affect us as well as others who share our planet; and likewise how others treat their direct environment will affect them as well as us. Thus, as the world becomes more densely populated it is essential that we adapt our attitudes to preserve our natural habitat by taking real action.

We cannot afford to continue polluting our environment for the effects thereof can be devastating. At home we have ample examples of the consequences of littering on our beaches, alongside our roads and more. Noteworthy is that the consequences of littering are not only local; namely it also extends to our oceans and can among others be highlighted by the large garbage patch of plastic collecting and floating in the northern pacific which scientist say is bigger than the State of Texas. Or closer to home, the garbage patch of trash collecting and floating in Sargasso sea in the Northern Atlantic. With recent seaweed collecting on our beaches I need not say more.

Ladies and gentlemen, World Environment Day and World Ocean Day are recognized by the United Nations to show us that the protection of the environment in general and more specifically the Oceans, is and should be a global effort. We can do our part here on Sint Maarten, but we must also reach out to nations and people all over the world to protect our Sint Maarten.

The theme for World Environment Day 2012 is: Green Economy. The United Nations Environment Program describes a green economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In that respect, I would like to emphasize that as we strive for economic growth we must do so fully aware of the importance of our environment and that we can do so because the two are not mutually exclusive.

Therefore, I urge all of you to be aware of how precious our environment is. If you don’t or if you seldom do, and I know that does not apply to you here this evening, I urge you  to get out more and experience our environment, for it is only through experience that appreciation will grow. If you own a business or if you are a consumer, think about what you can do to reduce your ecological footprint.

And finally, whatever you do, make it in keeping with the United Nations theme, your mission to be part of a Green Sint Maarten.  And for doing just that I hereby thank and congratulate the President, Board members, other members and associates of the Sint Maarten Pride Foundation for promoting environmental awareness and for their work to keep Sint Maarten Clean and Green.

Thank you and God Bless You.