The Bahamas, 01 Dec 2015 – On the eve of the opening of the largest gathering ever assembled for an environmental conference, the Paris conference on climate change, 16 Bahamians joined the ranks of those equipped to teach leadership and the environment. They are the graduates of this year’s Youth Environment Ambassadors (YEA) training, a cooperative effort between the growing local environmental movement Save The Bays and the internationally acclaimed Center for Creative Leadership, Financial Times Top Five Worldwide in Executive Education. The training sessions were made possible in part by a grant from RBC to Save The Bays.
“These are critical times in the life of this nation and its people, especially the young,” said Save The Bays Chairman Joseph Darville. “It is based upon that realization that we have developed this model that allows us to work with internationally renowned experts instilling in these very special young people knowledge about critical ecosystems and the kind of personal development that will pave the way for them to serve in leadership roles going forward.”
The newly-minted graduates who underwent intensive leadership skills training will not have to wait long to test their strengths.
From mid-January to May, they will lead up to 40 junior high school students in Grand Bahama on semi-monthly environmental education sessions delving into sensitive and sometimes threatened ecosystems. The program, which includes immersion in six ecosystems, moves from the classroom to the field and has led students in past years to places as diverse as the expected like coral reefs to the unexpected, including the Grand Bahama Power Company and the Grand Bahama Shipyard to better understand the industrial pressures on fragile environments and what measures are being implemented to mitigate against those pressures.
This will be the third session of the YEA program operated by Save The Bays. The first session was so popular that nearly twice as many students ages 12-14 showed up to register as the program could handle. Save The Bays is hoping to extend YEA to Nassau and at least two Family Islands in the coming years.
“As awareness of the importance of the environment builds and becomes a part of the national conversation in a country so vulnerable to climate change and other influences that can change our way of living and threaten our very survival, I believe one of the most valuable roles Save The Bays can play is to enable the training of persons who will become dynamic leadership stewards for our future.”
Since its launch in April 2013, Save The Bays has grown with its Facebook page attracting nearly 9,000 friends and fans and a petition to government urging comprehensive environmental legislation and an end to unregulated development gaining close to 5,000 signatures. Its voice in bringing attention to matters like oil pollution in Clifton Bay has rung out in the highest offices with Minister of the Environment Kenred Dorsett, now a delegate at the Paris conference, last week decrying the fuel he said was leaking daily from BEC into Clifton Bay.