Bermuda’s first youth climate summit
The Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute will host the island’s first Youth Climate Summit in November. Over the course of six days, the summit will bring together students aged 13 to 22 to focus on what they can do to ensure their future is not limited by decisions they had no part in making.
By providing young people with background information, the opportunity for group deliberation and access to subject matter experts, the Youth Climate Summit provides a unique setting for participants to work together, develop informed opinions, and produce action plans that help to secure their vision for the future.
While the pandemic has the attention of every nation on earth, the impact of climate change continues to jockey for headline position. Record-breaking fires, stronger hurricanes and severe droughts are altering the earth’s landscape while warming sea waters, rising tides and expanding flood zones are displacing communities. As each new environmental disaster unfolds, the call to address the human impact on the environment grows louder. The voices of young people around the world demanding climate action are now the loudest and impossible to ignore.
Thankfully, businesses leaders around the globe recognise they are positioned to develop better practices for the planet’s future. Organisations large and small have determined that practices based on clearly defined environmental, social and governance, and social responsibility objectives are crucial safeguards against future risk.
These priorities are integral for summit business partners. Additionally, all share a similar vision for Bermuda, where the island’s youth and young adults have a strong connection to the environment and can imagine themselves as future business owners, community leaders and environmental advocates.
The process of selecting partners for the summit has been, and continues to be, deliberate and intentional. It is imperative that partners stand credibly within the space they occupy, and that they walk their talk on climate action. Our young people deserve no less.
The summit’s Transformational Founding Partners — Axa XL and HSBC Bermuda — are keenly interested in supporting Bermuda’s young people in pursuing transformative solutions to systemic problems.
Both are committed to building trust, equity and diversity by equally contributing a range of resources beyond financial contributions. Their commitment includes providing their knowledge, expertise, connections, credibility and people to support participants as they develop and implement their own climate-action initiatives.
Both are also proud to be associated with highly motivated young people seeking to disrupt the status quo and ingrained behaviours that negatively impact Bermuda’s progress on the climate front.
Aspen Bermuda, Renaissance Re and Deloitte, the summit’s Visionary Partners, are known for supporting endeavours that promote thinking about the future in creative and imaginative ways. And our Inspire Partners, including Hiscox and TBi Bluewave recognise the need to excite and encourage young people to build confidence that leads to action. The ESG and SR work of all summit partners demonstrate their desire to make a difference globally and in Bermuda. An initiative of this magnitude would not be possible without their valuable support.
Additionally, the Youth Climate Summit will introduce participants to local organisations focused on safeguarding Bermuda’s environmental landscape through their own initiatives, activism and advocacy. By identifying potential resources and collaboration opportunities, attendees’ action plans may fill in gaps or provide additional volunteer support on projects already under way. Whatever participants may choose to take action, every summit partner is committed to supporting their efforts.
We all live on this one earth and are responsible for its care. Bermuda’s Youth Climate Summit recognises the vital role young people must have in determining how climate actions are to be prioritised. BUEI is truly grateful and appreciative of our partners for their contributions and full embrace of this ground-breaking initiative.
The summit takes place from November 22 to 27. The weeklong event prepares and empowers students to address climate on a local level and is the foundation for a year of youth-led sustainability, conservation, and climate justice initiatives. For more information, visit www.YCSBda.com.
• Karla Lacey is the chief executive of the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Established by a Private Act of the Bermuda Parliament in 1992 and officially opened in July 1997, BUEI is a registered non-profit and does not receive any government funding. The organisation relies on the continued financial support of the community to deliver impactful, high-quality educational programmes including the Eco-Schools Bermuda programme, and events such as the Youth Climate Summit