Students sign declaration for the conservation of the Sargasso Sea
Last week students representing middle and senior schools across the island joined together at The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum Zoo. Over the two days students participated in hands on projects; produced a Bermuda Youth Declaration; creative writing; participated in field trips and listened to environmentalists such as Dr David Wingate, OBE. The conference theme was the Sargasso Sea.
At the end of the conference the students signed a Bermuda Youth Declaration:
We the youth of Bermuda feel that we need to protect and conserve our unique marine environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
We are concerned about the Sargassum seaweed, cahows and longtails, whales and dolphins, sharks, eels and juvenile fish, other sea animals including coral, crabs, shrimp and turtles and all endangered and threatened species.
We are also concerned about the need to protect the breeding locations and migration routes of threatened and endangered species, by creating marine protection and nature reserves.
We are worried about over fishing from commercial and foreign fisheries resulting in decreasing populations of fishes, turtles, birds and other marine species. Increasing shipping activities and the noise, waste and contamination they create also causes a concern. This in addition to climate change, global warming and ocean acidification makes us want to take action for our future.
We need to consider plankton and the bacteria, which contribute enormously to our oxygen supply.
We aim to prevent pollution and the resultant bioaccumulation from contaminates such as oil and plastics.
We recognise that all people and animals are affected, which means that we could all be helping. In addition, we would like to be able to collaborate with our communities, governments, and work with the United Nations and other countries.
We acknowledge that this declaration is not legally binding. We have several ideas, which we plan to further pursue.
Our common vision:
We will empower others through awareness, education, local events, social media, research, and by our own individual behaviour.
As students in schools, we have ideas to develop talks, assemblies, fundraisers, youth ambassador and science clubs, field trips, pamphlets, movies, documentaries, and children's stories about the Sargasso Sea and its importance. Our intention is to ask educators to include this topic either at school events, field trips or in our science curriculum.
We aim to: connect and/or collaborate with governments, NGOs, charities, and organisations with similar interests; learn more about the sustainable use of ocean resources; use renewable energy, sustainable resources and recycle more; support conservation efforts like Blue Halo; become more aware of what we eat and how it affects others; and participate in beach clean ups and support events and initiatives connected to the protection and conservation of the Sargasso Sea.
We hope to: support sustainable fisheries; promote recycling and waste management programs; become involved in research on the Sargasso Sea, to understand how turtles, fish, whales, eels and other animals are being impacted; support the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea; send our youth declaration to the government and to all of our schools and to obtain more signatures for the Hamilton Declaration and this Youth Declaration.
We, the youth of Bermuda, plan to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation and use of the Sargasso Sea and all the life and resources it gives, recognising its importance not only for us, but future generations.