Educate the community about environmental concerns
Encourage greater awareness of the value of our natural and cultural resources
Advocate responsible methods for environmental conservation and preservation
To achieve our mission, EAST offers educational programs, events and activities for the community throughout each year. In the past, EAST has sponsored hikes, whale watches, star-gazing parties, and beach clean-ups. Whenever possible, EAST strives to work in partnership with other local conservation organizations or agencies (i.e. The Nature Conservancy’s Virgin Islands Program and outreach arms of The University of the Virgin Islands) to further spread our unified message of natural resource protection. In the past, EAST hosted the Radio show “Naturally Speaking” on WVWI, Radio One and published a quarterly newsletter that was bulk-mailed to our membership.
Beautiful Lindqvist Beach, on the east end of St. ThomasEAST works to promote responsible legislation that will protect our islands’ fragile natural and cultural resources and rich biological diversity. By consistently reviewing applications for development projects and testifying at public hearings, EAST encourages and advocates protection measures to minimize adverse environmental effects. Also, in the past, EAST has worked closely with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources in reviewing and updating the proposed Comprehensive Land and Water Use Plan. If passed, this plan would eliminate the current two-tier system that the Virgin Islands has in place for major and minor development permits. It would establish a single tier for all development projects and enforce the ideal that any development– whether in the coastal zone or upland of our islands– is going to impact the quality of our surrounding waters. Virgin Islands waters are rich in biodiversity with vibrant coral reef communities scattered around our shorelines, salt ponds, and mangroves as well. Preservation and restoration of our fragile environment — the main attraction for our tourism industry, the territory’s primary economic resource — is crucial for our long-range economic stability, ecological and recreational health, and quality of life.