Our fragile ocean: why ESG is a necessity, not a fad – The Royal Gazette


In Bermuda, the primary influence of the sea is everywhere. For centuries this was our only access, our perpetual conduit for commerce and discovery to the outside world.

It is our only constant – always so close to us, never separate from us – on our little island at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the salt of our blood; the spray on our faces; the essence of moisture in our lungs. It penetrates our being; it assaults our senses and our shores with imposing and intimidating ferocious rollers in waves driven by storms.

Wonders of the sea: Bermuda has a strong affinity for the ocean

It’s euphoric on sunny days, twinkling and sparkling rainbow lights dancing on azure waves. At dawn, the dewy tranquility, it uplifts our souls.

We Bermuda know the sea very well, our ocean. The future of our ocean is ours to save. The present is not pretty.

Our oceans are more ecologically challenged than ever: whales, turtles and fish found with many plastic bags (indistinguishable from jellyfish), bottle rings and plastic granules in stomach contents due to savings using the sea as a dumping ground. Particularly herbivorous manatees are starving at an alarming rate – their seagrass food supply is dwindling, eroded by pesticides, sewage, environmental damage and warming sea levels. Thousands of miles of sea corals dead, decimated by pollution, overfishing and climate change. Massive floating islands of garbage obstructing seaway crossings.

Unfortunately, the list is almost endless.

The consumer effect is subtle; we don’t always see it, or don’t always feel it, maybe a little bit in our wallets as we scan the rising costs of local fish market prices and products.

Or check the label warnings for a possible toxic metal content – mercury, for example.

Or, knowing locally that it’s been a long time since the annual rise of mackerel at Crow Lane: it was a real treat for many families when life in Bermuda was a simpler time – a fishing village. Mackerel, so plentiful, in the hundreds of thousands, quickly brought back at the end of a morning paper road, soon home, the young fish were sprinkled with flour, fried in bacon fat and inhaled for breakfast. Wonderful!

Back then, we weren’t so mindful of pesticides and insect repellants, or the compound effect on the environment and on us. A favorite game was to spray cockroaches with a pump bomb from Flit. Cockroaches, the carrion cleaners of the insect world, have survived for 350 million years, redundant repellents. They will be there long after we leave.

So are our oceans.

But will they be even more polluted or rejuvenated to a natural and healthy state? Covering over 70% of the planet’s surface, the oceans regulate our climate, provide the oxygen we breathe, are home to an extraordinary variety of life, and are an incredible source of healthy food for billions of people.

And, absolutely necessary for our survival.

Hope and optimism still prevail that we earthlings can clean up our act and our oceans – and if not reverse the damage, at least contain it.

ESG, (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) is more than a mantra, a philanthropy, but a necessity. The destruction of the environment is financially costly for all forms of life: people, places, plants, animals, industries and our planet.

Research into global trends in climate change, resource depletion, and sustainability factors has led investors – pension funds, insurance reserve holders and many other industries – to begin filtering investments into depending on their impact on perceived climate factors. change.

In Bermuda, with the support of our domestic and international industries and the innovation and futuristic thinking of our people, we have once again taken a step ahead. Our small island, so dependent on our ocean, we had to understand its multiple contributions while anticipating its many challenges.

The now 118-year-old Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (known as BIOS) is an independent, non-profit marine science and education institute located in Ferry Reach, St George’s. The Institute, founded in 1903 as the Bermuda Biological Station, hosts a full-time faculty of oceanographers, environmental biologists and scientists, graduate and undergraduate students, K-12 groups and Road Scholar groups (formerly Elderhostel). BIOS ‘strategic location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean has a diverse marine environment on its doorstep, close to the deep ocean as well as coral reefs and near shore habitats.

Amazing BIOS research achievements, a few are listed:

1954: Hydrostation “S” is established, marking the start of the world’s longest continuous ocean survey.

1975: The Bermuda government is establishing a coastal waters monitoring program that continues today.

1976: The Bermuda Program is launched, offering local Bermuda students the opportunity to work collaboratively with BIOS scientists through an intensive hands-on research internship.

1978: The Oceanic Flux program begins, setting the world’s longest record for deep ocean sediment trap studies.

Achievements since then include the creation of the Risk Prediction Initiative, a collaboration between climatologists and re / insurers; training at the Ocean Academy, which offers experimental marine science education to students and teachers in Bermuda; and the acquisition of BIOS’s first Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), a Slocum glider using innovative technology to increase the frequency and spatial coverage of traditional BIOS oceanographic measurements from ships.

Stephen Weinstein, a BIOS administrator, in the BIOS Currents May 2021 interview (see link below), said he is passionate about the island, engaged in business development and keen to promote initiatives and solutions related to the global risk of climate change, and it strives to combine these elements.

Bermuda, with its decades of strength in natural disaster risk management, has built a critical mass of highly relevant human capital and talent as well as the ideal regulatory environment to oversee and support this sector.

The BIOS, he said, is a key player. On June 23, 2021, the Bermuda Business Development Agency will host a seminar on climate risk finance in association with Rims, the risk management company, moderated by Stephen Weinstein, President of BDA.

The references

Bermuda BIOS (Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences celebrates its 110th anniversary, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ94V3Dq7mw

BIOSstation, https://www.youtube.com/user/BIOSstation

A passion for Bermuda, http://www.bios.edu/currents/a-passion-for-bermuda

Bermuda BDA to host seminar on climate risk finance

BDA to host climate risk finance seminar

Ten easy ways to help our ocean, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/ocean/help-our-ocean.html

• Martha Harris Myron, CPA JSM, originally from Bermuda, is the author of The Bermuda Islander Financial Planning Primers, international financial consultant for Olderhood Group International and financial columnist for The Royal Gazette. All proceeds from these items are donated to The Salvation Army in Bermuda. Contact: martha@pondstraddler.com


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