Category Archives: Uncategorized

IGLA Invites the Public to Sustainability Think Tank on St. John

Tuesday, November 29, 5 pm at the Westin

JOHN, USVI – November 17, 2016 – An incredible panel of environmental thought leaders will share their insights on sustainability, recycling and responsible waste management as part of Island Green Living Association’s (IGLA) Sustainability Think Tank on Tuesday, November 29 at 5 pm at the Westin St. John Resort and Spa’s Coral Room. The panel discussion will take place prior to IGLA’s board meeting. Both are open to the public and the community is encouraged to attend.

Successful implementation of the governor’s recycling bills including the plastic bag ban, source separation and container deposit legislation will depend greatly on the understanding and cooperation of residents. Susan Collins, president of the Container Recycling Institute, Mark Lichtenstein, chief of staff and executive director of sustainability at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), and the new executive director of Virgin Islands Waste Management, Roger Merritt, will be presenting. IGLA President Harith Wickrema will be moderating the panel. Wickrema was among the co-authors of the bills and Collins and Lichtenstein provided expert input on testimony.

“Sustainability is among the most important issues of our time and education is paramount to success,” said Wickrema. “These inspiring thought leaders bring a wealth of intellectual capital and passion and we are honored to have their participation.”

For more information on the event and IGLA in general, please contact or 215-620-8809.

Cool the School Campaign

On October 5, Julius E. Sprauve School, along with community members, celebrated the installation of four air conditioning units, donated by Mitsubishi Electric, at the Cool the School Kickoff Event.

IGLA’s President Harith Wickrema stated that after a meeting with Education Commissioner Dr. Sharon McCollum in 2015, the issue of uncomfortable temperatures in some V.I. classrooms was raised.  Afterwards, Alice Krall, an IGLA volunteer and community activist got to work creating the Cool the School Campaign.  Alice recruited Jim Dobrowolski, IGLA board member, and president and CEO of U.S. Facilities Inc, the parent company of Dr. Cool.  Mitsubishi donated the units to Julius E. Sprauve, and Dr. Cool installed them for free.

The new air conditioner units run on a refrigerant called R410, which burns more cleanly and efficiently than other refrigerants.
Jim Dobrowolski shared, “You live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  So with Mr. Wickrema and Island Green Living, we are trying to keep it one of the most beautiful places in the world, to keep it green, keep it environmentally friendly, to keep it energy efficient.”

In addition to Harith Wickrema and Jim Dubrowolski, board members Doug White, Rob Crane, Karen Vahling, and Christie O’Neil represented IGLA at the Cool the School Event.

Senator Marvin Blyden, Vice Chairman of the Energy Committee, stated, “This kind of public-private relationship is very critical, because this could not have been done without the generous help of Dr. Cool.”  October 5th was just the kickoff of Cool the School, as it will continue until all USVI schools have adequate air conditioning.

Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in sponsoring an installation.




Plastic-Free Island: St. John

Plastic-Free Island: St. John

Launches to Target Harmful Disposable Plastic

Working Group Formed; Support for Starfish Market Voiced

June 5, 2016 — A new collaborative project aimed at public awareness and targeting the elimination of immediate and long-term damage caused by disposable plastics is under way on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Plastic-Free Island: St. John is a new Innovation Project launched under the Plastic-Free Island concept founded by Pam Longobardi (Drifters Project) and Dianna Cohen (Plastic Pollution Coalition). Plastic-Free Island: St. John will work in close coordination with the leadership of the Island Green Living Association (IGLA) of St. John and other local organizations.

To begin immediately focusing on practical methods and new innovations to curb and prevent single-use plastic from harming the sensitive coastal environment and island community on St. John, a nine-person Working Group was created this month to tackle the challenge going forward.

Planning and executing definable, measurable and achievable actions to reduce and diminish harmful disposable plastic is the goal of the PFI: STJ Working Group. It was formed in the wake of an April 15-19 cross-island workshop that assessed the scope of the issue and local enthusiasm and support for addressing it.

While focused solely on the effect of single-use plastics on and around St. John, the effort is intended to complement current sustainability and environmental-protection initiatives already under way within the Territory. These include St. John-based programs led by IGLA as well as Friends of the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park, St. John Community Foundation, Coral Bay Community Council, Gifft Hill School and other community-minded organizations.

Among other dimensions, the Working Group plans to immediately champion and support existing and new efforts to curb the volume of single-use plastics currently in use by businesses, consumers, residents, visitors, the marine community and others on St. John.

The announcement in April by Starfish Market to ban plastic bags at its checkout counters is a shining example of a leading local business taking a clear, definable action that benefits the community. Helping local businesses and their customers adapt to and sustain this kind of change is a core component of the Working Group’s focus.

Along with an initial statement of purpose, a list of the new nine-member Working Group and their affiliations follows. Look for additional timely information from the Group and development of strategy and tactics in the coming weeks and months. Taking critical actions and heightening awareness of the Plastic-Free Island movement before, during and after the Centennial Transfer Day 2017 in the Territory are driving forces behind PFI: STJ.  Click here to visit Plastic-Free Island: St. John’s website.

Plastic-Free Island: St. John Working Group [Alphabetical list + Affiliations]
  • Dianna Cohen, Plastic Pollution Coalition; Plastic-Free Island
  • Ken Haldin, Convener of PFI: St John; part-time STJ resident
  • Celia Kalousek, St. John Community Foundation
  • Erin Lieb, Get Trashed (coastal cleanup organization)
  • Pam Longobardi, Georgia State University; Drifters Project; Plastic-Free Island
  • Tonia Lovejoy, Get Trashed (coastal cleanup organization); Beautiful Nation Project
  • Anne Ostrenko, Ostrenko Communications; part-time STJ resident
  • Mary Vargo, Gifft Hill School
  • Doug White, Island Green Living Assn. of St. John, USVI
Statement from the Plastic-Free Island: St. John Working Group:

“We are a group of local residents, visitors, educators, artists, conservationists, activists, National Park enthusiasts, lovers of St. John and local organization members who have determined that, together, we can help make single-use plastic decline and eventually disappear from St. John.

“Too much single-use plastic does irreparable harm to the USVI coastal environment and its economy. Doing something today to curb the use and flow of these unnecessary disposables tomorrow will help to build a healthier, more vibrant economy and island community, both before and after Transfer Day 2017.

“We are proud to be connected with and indebted to the Plastic-Free Island movement, which is creating an exportable template for protecting precious island locations from disposable plastic intrusion. We are also pleased to work in close coordination with the leadership of St. John’s Island Green Living Association and connect with other local organizations that share a desire to proactively protect the island community and its future health.

“Plastic-Free Island: St. John is meant to lift up and focus on new and innovative steps we can take — sometimes small, perhaps eventually dramatic — to make a difference in one essential dimension: reducing and eliminating single-use disposable plastic. We look forward to forging an array of definable, measurable and achievable actions and collaborating with others to make them happen on St. John.”

About Starfish Market’s Plastic Bag Ban:

“We wholeheartedly support Starfish Market’s manager Nedra Ephraim for making the bold ecoconscious decision to eliminate disposable plastic bags from the Market. Along with other businesses who have initiated positive change on St. John previously, this decision shows brilliant leadership to take a stance and act upon reducing the known damaging effects of disposable plastic bags in the environment and protection of the vibrant sea life of St. John. The transition to a bring your-own-bag routine may require a small change in behavior for customers and cause inconvenience in the short run. But a new, more sustainable habit will replace the plastic habit, and St. John will reap untold benefits in the future.”