ISEC CAYMAN ISLANDS EMPOWERS CAYMANIAN YOUTH
On September 18, 2021, national directors with the International Student Environmental Coalition (ISEC) partnered with local environmental organizations and held a youth training, thanks to Stop the Money Pipeline. The one-day workshop and seminar hosted 25 children aged 6-12 from various private and public primary schools across Grand Cayman. It aimed to educate and empower Caymanian youth on the importance of climate change, how it impacts the Caribbean (with a focus on the Cayman Islands), and ways they can make a difference.
The day started with introductions from the ISEC team. The participants then introduced themselves and were asked to say their favourite thing about the Cayman Islands and what climate change meant to them. Many participants noted that climate change causes more hurricanes and hotter days.
After introductions, we began by watching a YouTube video explaining climate change in child-friendly terminology. Afterward, we held an open discussion on how climate change impacts the Caribbean, specifically focusing on the issue’s impacts on the Cayman Islands. In one important conversation, we talked about stronger and more frequent storms and hurricanes. After recently experiencing Tropical Storm Grace, we experienced an island-wide power outage for days, leaving many individuals to deal with extremely hot conditions, many bug bites, food and water shortage, missing school/work, and feeling sad, scared, and many other negative emotions. We then moved on to climate change’s implications for our marine life. We discussed the speed at which sea creatures are dying, which can affect our fishing industry and damage our coral reefs.
We also hosted a guest speaker from the Department of Environmental Health (DEH). She spoke to the participants about the DEH’s work and opportunities to become involved with the department through volunteering. After her presentation, we opened the floor to questions and concerns. Students voiced how they felt scared and frustrated regarding the lack of environmental awareness in the Cayman Islands. This led to a discussion on local environmental laws and environmental groups.
Afterward, the participants engaged with a presentation on how they could make a difference in their schools and broader communities. We spoke about setting up environmental clubs, implementing greater recycling incentives for their schools, and, of course, leading by example.
This workshop was successful. The participants felt motivated and determined to make a difference. We hope this will lead to a domino effect for students across Grand Cayman.
I am very thankful to the Stop the Money Pipeline for providing me with the funds to create a safe and informative space to foster change.
Article by: Taneil Lee
Edited by: Audrey Liu