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Earth Today | More than 100 students participate in climate change forum

Published:Wednesday | March 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor
Nicole O'Reggio (standing), from the Environment and Risk Management Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, makes a presentation to participants at the recent forum.
Lt. Col. Oral Khan (2nd right), Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, and others observe as students plant a tree on the grounds of the St Elizabeth Technical High School. The occasion was the recent climate change forum hosted at the institution.

MORE THAN 100 youths turned out to learn and share their views on climate change at a recent forum held in St Elizabeth.

The event, hosted at St Elizabeth Technical High School on March 2, was staged as part of the Government's Youth Environment and Advocacy Programme (YEAP).

YEAP aims to provide a platform to young people aged 11 to 19 years old for interactive dialogue with policymakers and other stakeholders on national environmental issues.

The participating youths were drawn from not only St Elizabeth Technical High School, but also The Hampton School, Munro College, Roger Clarke High, Black River High, Sydney Pagon STEM Academy, B Coke High School, and other educational institutions.

The event featured presentations from the Meteorological Service, which provided the youth with information on climate change and how it is reflected in weather, including extreme hurricane events, as well as from the National Works Agency, which focused on Jamaica's efforts to make its infrastructure climate-resilient.

The students also gained insight into the climate change impacts on the Alligator Pond, provided through the Little Ochi Seafood Restaurant.

Samantha Allen, public education and behaviour change communication officer with the Climate Change Division, said that the forum - the first YEAP event for the year - was a success, with students engaged on the subject.

"Questions from students centred on scholarship opportunities in climate change and environment studies, policy responses to illegal bauxite mining and deforestation, coral reef protection, climate change adaptation and mitigation, the impact on critical sectors such as health, and the link between climate change and economic growth and development," she noted.

"[At the same time], students shared their views on the use of incentives to help eliminate plastic bottles and single-use plastic bags; the use of media, especially social media, to communicate messages on climate change with the youth; and the importance of everyone taking responsibility for their actions as regards climate change," Allen added.