Students talk of being inspired by Youth Climate Summit
Young people told a conference yesterday how they immersed themselves in projects after being inspired by an environmental summit.
Berkeley Institute students Moriah Bridgewater and Lia Smith and CedarBridge pupil Fabiola Adams told the second BUEI Youth Climate Summit that they went to Burt Island, which hosts conservation programmes, and planted vegetables at Southlands national park after attending last year’s event.
Ms Adams said she enjoyed working on Burt Island and seeing the ongoing sustainability projects, including solar panels and a garden.
“There is even a shower surrounded by banana trees. People can just pull a lever and rainwater that was caught will come down,” she said.
Ms Smith said that riding on the island’s electric buses made her think about how Bermuda could benefit from electric boats – something she said she would not have thought before attending last year’s summit.
Ms Bridgewater said the summit changed her perspective on climate justice.
“In the beginning, I had only seen people like Greta Thunberg and other activists speaking out [against climate change] and I always thought that you needed to be in the public eye or have a loud voice to be involved in climate justice,” she added.
“But there are many people in the background and others who have to facilitate those people in the limelight.”
Summit participants also heard from award-winning journalist Jessica Knoblauch, from environmental organisation Earthjustice, who urged people attending to ask more questions.
“Schools and workplaces do not often encourage questions, but questions are important because they can expand your world view and help you get information you did not know was needed.
“Questions also help to avoid making mistakes and can uncover hidden information.”
Some tips she gave on better questions included asking ones that people might enjoy answering; keeping them concise and descriptive; and asking follow-up questions.
She said: “As students and people who care about climate change, all we can do is our due diligence, research, talk to experts, look at what the other side is saying and then make up our own mind on what to believe at the end of the day and whether or not we are going to move forward.”
The final speaker was youth activist Andrew Fagerheim, who also presented at last year’s summit. He stressed the importance of teamwork to accomplish goals, including environmental initiatives.
He said: “It is important to ask what skills we have, whether it be public speaking, writing, art, or knowledge of animals and their habitats.
“All of these things are really valuable and are experiences that some participants in this summit might have.
“Teachers, churches, non-profit groups and businesses, all these community people and organisations can be really helpful when working on an action project.”
For the final exercise yesterday, participants were asked to share one thing they learnt about advocacy and activism. Some of the responses included, “use your gifts”, “stand up for what you believe in”, and “you can contribute more than you think you can”.
Today’s virtual session will feature youth activists Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Sarah Syed as well as Andrew MacFarlane from AXA XL. It will be live-streamed on the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute’s YouTube channel.