Later this week, on Oct. 7, Isle of Man Post Office will release a five-stamp set in celebration of the island recently being awarded United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) status as a world biosphere region.
Biosphere regions are areas around the world endorsed by UNESCO as being balanced yet outstanding places for both nature and people. There are currently 669 biosphere regions in 120 countries, including Canada, worldwide.
UNESCO biosphere status for the Isle of Man recognizes the island as a “special place” to live, work and visit. To earn this accolade—and it’s the first entire country to earn it—the Isle of Man has committed to caring for its nature and wildlife as well as promoting its culture and heritage.
A 45p stamp shows an image of one of the Isle of Man’s beaches—a unique environment and long-standing culture that has now been recognised with the UNESCO biosphere status.
The 77p stamp shares the winning image created by Cyprus Post artist Doxia Sergidou and was chosen from 24 entries by Europa stamps to mark the 60th anniversary of the Europa stamp movement. The stamp shows a hand actively replacing the grey colour, representing environmental pollution. Green is used to symbolize environmental living and hope and that it is “in our hand to create a greener planet.”
Featured on the £1.13 stamp is an image of the island’s energy from waste plant. It converts 60,000 tonnes of commercial and domestic waste each year, producing 10 per cent of the island’s electricity using its state-of-the-art technology and on-site laboratory.
The island is also gaining a reputation for developing green technology, most notably through the advancement of electric bike racing, an image of which is depicted on the £1.47 stamp. In 2009 the electric bike made history with the first race around the Mountain Course for electric powered bikes; eight years later, the TT Zero is going strong with the outright lap record: an average speed of 191.94 km/h around the 60-kilometre circuit.
Finally, the £2.33p stamp is inspired by the island’s renewable energy production. At the heart of Tholt-y-Will stands a building containing two turbines powered by water from the nearby Black Eary and Sulby Reservoirs; together they produce four gigawatt hours of hydro-electric power each year, meeting one per cent of the island’s annual demand.
Peter Longworth, UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man project lead said 2016 saw the entire Isle of Man and surrounding seas recognised as a “special place for people and nature.”
“We were very proud to become the world’s first entire Island Nation with UNESCO Biosphere status, another World First for the Isle of Man,” said Longworth. “In recognition of this prestigious accolade from a respected global organization, we were delighted that the Isle of Man Post Office designed a range of commemorative stamps for the occasion of Dr Han Qunli travelling to the Isle of Man.”
Maxine Cannon, Isle of Man Stamps and Coins general manager said Longworth provided “great assistance” with this new issue.
“Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to present a set of stamps in celebration of our Island being awarded UNESCO biosphere status and the world’s first entire country to gain this prestigious accolade,” said Cannon.