Glass half full for young conservation champions – The Royal Gazette

Created: June 22, 2022 08:00

Participants in the Youth Climate Summit initiative are halfway through this year-long program and have made impressive strides in their understanding of conservation, sustainability and climate justice. On May 21, they returned to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute for a final presentation of their projects to YCS partners and supporting non-governmental organizations.

Youth Climate Summit participants are halfway through their initiatives on conservation, sustainability and climate justice (Photograph provided)

This event demonstrated the progress made by JEC participants following the first Bermuda Summit in November 2021. Ideas gathered at the summit addressed climate change issues with a particular focus on local mitigation and adaptation. Dozens of suggestions were reviewed by the youth-elected YCS Advisory Board, made up of representatives from the climate justice, conservation and sustainability tracks. With submissions from their peers at the forefront of their decision-making process, board members identified specific climate action projects.

The planning process for the project began in March with a series of meetings of local NGOs to gather information, identify overlaps with existing initiatives and explore opportunities for collaboration. Monthly educational activities helped participants develop appropriate networks and advance their understanding of project management, stakeholder engagement, communication, finance and budgeting, and gain specific knowledge on marine protection, community gardening and reducing plastic waste here in Bermuda.

Rosemarie McMahon, PhD, is the Consulting Director of the Youth Climate Programme, an initiative of the Bermuda Institute of Underwater Exploration

Participants also met with various local experts, taking part in a series of field trips, including an electric bus tour with the Department of Transportation, organic gardening with Food Forest Bermuda, seagrass restoration and reforestation mangroves on Burt’s Island with the Waterstart Program, planting native trees on Trunk Island with the Bermuda Zoological Society, reforestation of the mangroves in Waterville with the Bermuda National Trust, tilling soil in a community garden with Bermuda is Love , and a trip to Belco to see the companies’ sustainable practices firsthand. These excursions allowed participants to broaden their knowledge and better understand their involvement in solving critical local environmental issues.

These experiences informed presentations on May 21, as Climate Justice Project team members Fabiola Adams, Jessie DeBraga and Moriah Bridgewater shared their “Good Growing” community garden initiative, which aims to improve awareness. the importance of food security in Bermuda. . With a budget of $1,800, this group of young people plan to grow local organic food using their garden plot at Southlands Community Garden and a Nourish-bot container facility. The aim is to sell their locally grown fruits and vegetables at the island’s established farmers’ markets and do their part to combat the rising cost of food imports, unnecessary food waste and the risks of pesticide residues. on imported products.

Ava Gibson and Satya Darrell, members of the Sustainable Development team, presented their project, “Single-use plastic substitution”. This initiative aims to raise awareness of the risks of single-use plastics and promote sustainable alternatives to plastic lunch boxes. The group is setting up a pilot program in two local schools to reduce reliance on single-use plastic in hot meals. With a conservative estimate of $5,220, they plan to purchase and distribute 300 stainless steel containers to participating schools.

Finally, members of the Conservation team Phoenix Palacio, D’Angele Symonds, Azari Easton, Naina Seth and Zahra Trotte presented their project “Marine Protection and Outreach”. Their goals are to tackle mangrove reforestation and seagrass conservation, and join efforts to cull lionfish. The team, which plans to build and place 12 seagrass cages in Bermuda waters, has already planted up to 50 mangrove seedlings and gained lionfish spear training.

Partners present at the presentation were unanimously impressed with each group’s strategic thinking process and thorough project planning.

In attendance was Louise Twiss-West, Head of Wholesale Banking for HSBC in Bermuda, who said: “It was so inspiring to witness the progress of climate action to date from the leaders of the Youth Summit on climate on the themes of conservation, sustainability and climate justice. The projects selected by these young leaders not only offer our island practical solutions to address important climate-related issues such as plastic consumption, food security and the blue economy, but also allow them to apply them in a context economic model. As a co-founding partner of the YCS, HSBC is also pleased to provide each group with the “seed funds” needed to help bring these projects to life within our schools and community. We look forward to seeing the end results of the projects and also the continued engagement with key community stakeholders as we all work to build a more sustainable Bermuda.

Thanks to the generous financial support of the two founding partners, Axa XL and HSBC, each group is in the implementation phase of its projects.

I am delighted with the level of student engagement, especially throughout the project planning process. During the summit, the students were assured that their voice counted and that it was truly rewarding for their efforts to be recognized by YCS partners. We look forward to advancing these youth projects with the continued support of our valued partners.

Rosemarie McMahon, PhD, is the Consulting Director of the Youth Climate Programme, an initiative of the Bermuda Institute of Underwater Exploration. To learn more about the Youth Climate Summit and follow the participants’ journey over the coming months, please visit www.YCSBA.com or follow them on social media @ycsbda

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