Gore keynotes confab designed to raise eco awareness

Al Gore, former vice president of the U.S. and Nobel Peace Prize winner, served as keynote speaker at the Conference on the Environment Nov. 18 to 20, hosted by the Turks and Caicos in collaboration with the Ocean Conservancy and the National Coral Reef Institute.

Gore, who focused on the conference theme of "Thinking Green, Adapting to Climate Change," argued that the physical changes in our planet will influence the global economy.

He encouraged his audience, composed of ministers of the environment from a number of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations as well as numerous officials from the government of the Turks and Caicos, to consider environmental, social and political issues when planning economic strategies.

Michael Misick, premier of the Turks and Caicos, said that "it is our hope that this conference will result in policy initiatives and cooperation in environmental conservation development in the Caribbean that will significantly impact the quality of life for our citizens."

The conference is the culmination of the Turks and Caicos' government's year-long efforts to commemorate 2007 as the Year of the Environment. Key objectives of the effort were to raise the level of environmental consciousness throughout the destination and to develop public and private partnership agreements to manage the environment, according to Misick.

Already, the Turks and Caicos invests more than $5 million annually in the upkeep of reefs and the environment; schedules activities such as beach cleanups and tree-planting events; endorses environmentally friendly products; and helps develop partnerships to manage the environment.

The conference was held at Beaches Turks & Caicos in Providenciales, which has been Green Globe Certified by the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism. The National Coral Reef Institute is a congressionally mandated project to monitor and restore coral reefs; the Ocean Conservancy is a charitable organization that funds ocean-related environmental projects.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at [email protected].

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