The View
from Here:

    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline and is the editor-in- chief of Harbour Magazine for Saint Barth and Saint Martin. When she's not organizing the St. Barth Film Festival, or writing for various magazines including Live Design, MACO, and All At Sea, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.

    October '07

   Turn It Off!

If we were at a dinner party and I leaned over very close to you and whispered in your ear that you were causing global warming, and that every day you were making the hole in the ozone layer just a little bit bigger, you would probably turn your back to me, scoot your chair over a few inches and start telling the person on your other side all about the attributes of your new SUV, and how funny it is that's it's actually wider than the roads in Saint Barth! But seriously, how many of us have changed our light bulbs to low-energy compact fluorescents, the ones that look like vanilla Mr. Softee swirls? And have you wrapped thermal blankets around your hot water heaters, or better yet replaced them with the kind that make hot water on demand rather than spend energy keeping all that water hot 24/7; you may be sleeping at night but your hot water heater isn't. We can rag George W. Bush all we want for not signing the Kyoto treaty, but conservation begins at home. Especially on a tiny island like Saint Barth where energy, like water, is precious and should be used sparingly. In fact there was an article on the cover of the Journal de St. Barth recently stating that the island can no longer make enough energy to meet its needs. How can that be? The reality is that St Barth makes it own electricity and the motors that do so are at more than capacity already (might I suggest stocking up on candles and flashlights). And people are just demanding more and more. The sad thing is that to make this electricity, thousands upon thousands of gallons of fossil fuel must be burned to create the energy every year. Not a good situation to begin with, and even worse if the island can't make enough to go around. Houses on the island are getting bigger and bigger - absurdly big in some cases. With electric everything. (Why not cook with gas? It doesn't require burning of fossil fuel to make it. But that would mean getting replacement gas tanks when yours runs out - which we have been doing for the past 10 years - but I guess a lot of folks would consider that a downright inconvenience.) Not to mention electric shutters, electric pool covers, heated swimming pools, and air-conditioning. Did I mention air-conditioning? People now seem to think you can't spend a minute in the Caribbean without air-conditioning. I even heard of someone who wanted to heat the floor tiles in their bedroom since the air-conditioning makes it so cold during the night that the tiles are too cold for their bare feet in the morning. I just have to wonder, if people want to live on a polar ice cap, why did they buy a house in Saint Barth in the first place?

    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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