Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Caribbean youth get their say on climate change

Published:Thursday | May 19, 2016 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor

WITH the launch of Caribbean Climate Trackers, the region's youth now have the chance to become more vocal on climate change.

The youth-led writing initiative, as hub manager Dizzanne Billy describes it, is intended "to identify and support young climate actors from around the world".

With its genesis as the Adopt-A-Negotiator initiative, the effort was rebranded in Paris in December and is looking to amplify the perspectives of youth on climate change.

To that end, Billy, who is also president of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network in Trinidad, said youths recently had two publishing windows April 5 to 22 and May 4 through 15 that have qualified them for writing fellowships.

The April 5 to 22 window saw them writing on why the world should be free from fossil fuels and the effects of fossil fuels on health and air pollution.

The May 4 to 15 window saw them writing on climate change, human rights and energy transition.

"Coming out of these two publishing windows, the goal was to select 15 young people to be a part of a paid writing fellowship, as well as to choose two persons to be a part of the Climate Trackers team to COP22 (the 22nd meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held later this year in Marrakech)," said Billy.

fellow selection

"So far, the 15 persons have been announced and we successfully have one person from the Caribbean Climate Trackers chosen to be a fellow.

"Her name is Amrita Dass and she's from Trinidad and Tobago. The two persons for the team have not yet been announced, but should be this week," she added.

The fellowships, which got underway earlier this month, covers subjects including:

• an introduction to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;

• the annual Conference of the Parties and what it means;

• climate change and health;

• climate change, water and biodiversity;

• climate change, human rights and gender; and

• climate change variability in the Caribbean.

With the start of their operations in the region in March, the first order of business has been to address visibility while prompting support for their work.

Caribbean Climate Trackers therefore joined the Earth Day 2016 InstaMeet event, which ran from April 22 to 24 on the social networking service Instagram.

"In Trinidad, we met at the Botanic Gardens in Port-of-Spain, with young, spoken-word artistes performing about earth and the environment and

conservation. We also did some networking and speaking about climate change, [as well as] exchanged ideas on the Paris Agreement," Billy told The Gleaner.

Their activities at the Botanic Gardens were shared on Instagram, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Billy has urged Caribbean youth to join the movement.

"We need to stop operating in insularity. We need to find now the power that we have when we work together," she said.

"Young people tend to feel that their opinion does not matter or that they are like a box that needs to be ticked off.

" Our opinion matter and the only way we can get it out there is by doing the work, and we will see the results after," Billy added.

The Caribbean hub joins seven others from across the world Latin America, Brazil, Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Balkans.