Today, Premier and Minister for Sustainability & Climate Resiliency, Wayne Panton focused on this year’s Earth Day theme – Invest in Our Planet, the idea of accelerating solutions for climate change across all levels of society, and challenging the idea that economic prosperity must come at the expense of our planet.
Said Premier Panton:
Even before the first Earth Day was held in 1972, protests and demonstrations explored the seeming tensions between economic development and the environment. Since then, the data tells a different story: There is a direct correlation between sustainable business practices, share prices, and business performance. Businesses with strong Environment Social Governance (ESG) standards have better profitability, stronger financials, happier employees, and more resilient stock performance.
It’s clear our economy and environment are not opposing forces, they are two sides of the same coin.
According to Mr Panton, when the PACT government came into office last year, it was with a vision “for a Cayman Islands that is held up as one of the most sustainable countries in the world, a trio of islands where all its citizens can thrive; a peaceful and prosperous place known for its resourcefulness, its diligence, its excellence, and its innovativeness.”
Mr. Panton has said that the PACT government is committed to taking a sustainable approach to the social, environmental, and economic development of our Islands. “A sustainable approach means we try to balance protection and conservation of the natural environment with the need to develop some of the natural environment for social or economic purposes.”
Here are Mr Panton’s thoughts on how to invest in the planet:
Identifying ways to make existing infrastructure more efficient, introducing new technologies and innovations that reduce our collective environmental footprint, and collaborating with other governments, individuals and companies to link prosperity, peace and planetary health.
2. Sustainability & Inclusivity
Recognising the importance of economic prosperity that is sustained, inclusive and nature friendly, the Office of the Premier in partnership with the Cayman Islands Government Office – UK has announced that financial economist Ralph Chami will come to the Cayman Islands from May 1-5.
Mr. Chami, assistant director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and co-founder of Rebalance Earth (https://www.rebalance.earth/), advocates for integrating natural capital into our economy, bringing together investors, conservationists and policymakers.
3. Valuing biodiversity
Through an approach to economics that values biodiversity and keystone species, Mr. Chami and his colleagues are seeking to build a new economic paradigm that is nature-positive and promises to deliver sustainable and shared prosperity to all.
During his visit to the Cayman Islands, he will participate in events and engagements sharing insights on what a nature-positive economy can deliver and how to build such a framework. While in the Cayman Islands, he will of course experience first-hand the natural marine and terrestrial assets of the Cayman Islands.
4. Protection of marine and terrestrial resources
Since April 2021, Cabinet has facilitated the purchase and protection of significant acreage across the Cayman Islands, including parcels in the Salina Reserve, Sand Cay, Western Mangroves Area and Central Mangrove Wetlands in Grand Cayman, Tarpon Lake and the East Interior of Little Cayman, and Hemmington Forest in Cayman Brac.
The new Crown protected areas bring the total protected land area across the three Cayman Islands to 7385.01 acres or 11.33 per cent of the terrestrial area.
The public can support these efforts by nominating an area of the islands that is important to you to be considered for protection. The current nomination period is open until May 13. Please visit www.conservation.ky for more information.
5. Plant a tree
Help to introduce more native and endemic plants into Cayman’s built communities by planting a tree for the Jubilee. Please visit www.gov.ky/nationaltreeplanting for more information.
6. Clean up!
Join the thousands of volunteers who will take to the streets and shores of our islands over the weekend to participate in the annual Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Island-Wide Earth Day Clean-Up.
Said the Premier:
Together, we can work to protect existing habitats, plant native and endemic trees, and keep our islands clean.
Together, we can give back to the planet that gives so much to us every day. Things we are all sometimes guilty of taking for granted: The air we breathe. The food we eat. The sea of palest emerald. The soft, fresh breezes. The verdant trees so fair.