The Bahamas, 17 December 2014 – It’s rare that a school visit elicits a response so effusive it sounds like something reserved for eyeballing an Orca, but then neither the school nor the students were ordinary when the education team from Save The Bays landed at The Island School, Cape Eleuthera recently for a scientific symposium.
It was environmental protection advocates meeting those who live, work, teach and breathe the environment, making the most of nature’s bounty with sustainable energy and renewables while sharing lessons they have learned with those will become the future stewards of a fragile eco-system.
The hands-on, four-day, live-in training was made possible by a grant from the fast-growing environmental movement Save The Bays. Like last year’s symposium attendance which was funded by the Moore Bahamas Foundation, this year’s brought members of the education arm of Save The Bays, headed by Joseph Darville, and its Youth Environment Ambassadors (YEA) Facilitators to the Cape Eleuthera Institute and The Island School.
The school, started in 1999 with six students and the philosophy “We live what we teach” has become a magnet for high school seniors from various countries who grow their own food, explore the coral reefs and the deep, interacting with sharks, sea turtles and other marine species, learning eco-management. All their surroundings, including living quarters, are textbook sustainable.
“The best part of this trip was actually seeing and experiencing how technology/development and nature can live and work together in harmony and peace without devastation and destruction,” said Javan Hunt, Environmental Facilitator. “It can be done! And now I take with me this blueprint and will implement what I can in my personal life, teach those willing to learn and lead by example.”
Hunt echoed what environmental spokesmen have frequently said – that blue and green economies can provide untold numbers of jobs without endangering species or resources.
“Each time we attend, we return renewed and even more passionate about leading our youth expertly along the path of creating a dynamic, sustainable and leadership role in preserving and protecting the unique beauty and resources of this archipelagic nation,” said Darville. “The Island School and Cape Eleuthera are undoubtedly the microcosm of the type of environmental stewardship that should be propagated throughout our island nation.”
YEA Facilitator Jensen Farquharson agreed.
“I am thankful to Save The Bays affording me the opportunity to be a part of an experience that will forever enforce my faith in the hope that this country can realize its potential if we invest in our young people wisely,” said Farquharson. “The island of Eleuthera is certainly a paradise: the people, the marine scenery, and the unique topography confirmed why I love this country.”
Leadership trainer Sharon Glover called Eleuthera “one of God’s greatest creations,” encouraging every Bahamian to visit Eleuthera and The Island School.
“I do believe it would renew and confirm their belief that there is no place like the Bahamas and therefore we should do everything in our powers to preserve and protect it.”
Protecting the environment and preserving it for future generations are the primary goals of Save The Bays, the record-breaking non-government organization that has amassed more than 17,000 friends on Facebook since its launch in April 2013. Its petition at savethebays.bs calling on government to pass an environmental protection act, a freedom of information act, control oil pollution and end unregulated development has nearly 7,000 signatures.