Nurturing Bermuda’s green leaders
Our vibrant youth have once again embraced their role as environmental stewards, bringing forth transformative projects through the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute’s Youth Climate Summit. As we gear up for the upcoming summit from November 13 to 18, it is essential to highlight the remarkable initiatives undertaken by our young climate activists since the summit launched in 2021.
BUEI’s Youth Climate Summit is a six-day event, followed by a yearlong programme that unites and empowers Bermuda’s youth by further advancing their understanding of climate-change issues and facilitating climate-change action through a guided structure and project work.
Each year, 150 students ages between 13 and 22 participate in the weeklong summit, with scores of young people remaining with the programme to develop student-led initiatives in the areas of sustainability, conservation and climate justice. At the forefront of sustainable practices is the Sustainable Lunchbox Project, introduced at The Berkeley Institute. Recognising the staggering amount of waste generated from single-use packaging, these young advocates have championed the use of reusable lunch boxes. By providing the school cafeteria with reusable lunch containers for serving students lunches on a daily basis, this project not only reduces plastic waste but also educates the school community about the importance of sustainable consumption. The Sustainable Lunchbox Project is a shining example of how small changes in our daily routines can have a significant impact on our environment.
Conservation efforts have also taken centre stage at the Youth Climate Summit, with projects such as mangrove reforestation and beach clean-ups gaining momentum. Mangroves play a crucial role in maintaining coastal ecosystems, mitigating climate change and providing habitat for a diverse array of marine life. The young conservationists, armed with their dedication and determination, have undertaken the task of restoring and protecting these vital ecosystems. Through mangrove reforestation projects and regular beach clean-ups, they are not only preserving our natural heritage but also nurturing a sense of responsibility among fellow citizens.
The Youth Climate Summit has also been a catalyst for the Climate Justice Energy Efficiency Project. In recognising the connection between energy consumption and climate change, these young activists are working towards improving energy efficiency in Bermuda. By advocating for renewable energy sources and implementing energy-saving measures among their family and peer circles, they are spearheading efforts to reduce carbon emissions and create a more sustainable energy future. Their commitment to climate justice ensures that the benefits of sustainability are accessible to all, irrespective of socioeconomic backgrounds.
None of these endeavours would be possible without the generous support of lead partners Axa XL and HSBC Bermuda, as well as the collaborative efforts of numerous business partners, including Renaissance Re, Aspen, Deloitte Bermuda, Conduit Re, Chubb, Axis and TBI. Their contributions have enabled the Youth Climate Summit to flourish, providing a platform for young voices to be heard and sustainable initiatives to be realised. Their commitment to corporate social responsibility sets an exemplary precedent for others to follow, demonstrating that investing in the future of our planet is not only the right thing to do, but also sound business.
As we eagerly await the 2023 Youth Climate Summit, let us commend the passion, dedication and innovation of Bermuda’s young climate activists. Their projects, such as the Sustainable Lunchbox Project, Mangrove Reforestation and the Climate Justice Energy Efficiency, serve as beacons of hope in our collective efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change. It is imperative that we, as a community, rally behind their efforts, providing them with the resources, support and recognition they deserve. Together, we can create a sustainable future for Bermuda and inspire generations to come.
Mark your calendars for November 13 to 18, as BUEI’s 2023 Youth Climate Summit promises to be yet another transformative event, showcasing the ingenuity and determination of our young green leaders. Let us seize this opportunity to learn, collaborate and act, as we shape a future where sustainability and prosperity go hand in hand. For more information on BUEI’s Youth Climate Summit, visit www.YCSBda.com.
• Karla Lacey is chief executive of the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Founded by a Private Act of Parliament, BUEI celebrated 25 years of operations in 2021. A registered non-profit (#326), the organisation does not receive any government funding but relies on the continued financial support of the community to deliver impactful, high-quality programmes, including the Eco-Schools and Young Reporters for the Environment programmes, and the Youth Climate Summit