Montego Bay, Jamaica
July 01, 2010 (SKNIS)
Youth representing several high schools in Jamaica and a community college appeared quite comfortable presenting an environmentally sustainable project, meeting with Prime Ministers, debating, interpreting the environment with the creative arts and sitting among delegates at the Fifth Caribbean Environmental Forum, Montego Bay, Jamaica.
During the five-day forum which ran from June 21 ““ 25, 2010, several high school and college students were brought together for the first ever Caribbean Youth Environmental Forum. Two of these young people, Tashana Clemings and Tanashay Cheddesing were supported by their teacher Devon Callam of the Mannings High School, Jamaica when they presented the environmentally-friendly project termed “Conserving Energy with Green Roof Technology.” The project has already received the Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd. (SPSCo) Environmental Award.
Using five models Clemings and Cheddising were able to demonstrate that it is possible to grow vegetation on roofs by water-proofing the area, choosing the appropriate soil and ensuring adequate drainage. The students noted that benefits would include a cooler house, income from the sale of plants and reduction of theft of plants due to their high placement.
The young people were also given an opportunity to have their voices heard by policy makers when they met and held discussions with Prime Minister of St. Lucia Honourable Stephenson King as well as Jamaica’s Minister of Water and Housing Honourable Dr. Horace Chang.
The young people were also participants in a Tree Planting Ceremony at the Old Hospice Site Montego Bay to mark the First Youth Environmental Forum. The first tree was planted by Montego Bay Community College Students along with Montego Bay’s mayor, Charles Sinclair, and Patricia Aquing, Executive of the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI). The students of the Mannings High School planted the next tree with Vincent Sweeney of the Regional Project Coordinator of the Global Environmental Facility-Integrating Watershed and Coastal Area Management (GEF-IWCAM) project. The final tree was planted by the accompanying teachers of the schools attending the Forum and Nadia Deen Ferguson of the United Nations Environment Programme- Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP CAR-RCU) and Ava Tomlinson of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). Ms. Tomlinson was instrumental in the coordination of the Youth Forum itself.
The students also visited the Montego Bay Marine Park where they identified environmental issues and solutions and Project Wet, an environmental group, led the youth in a Blue Planet Activity which enabled them to identify water sources on the globe.
The young participants were given the opportunity to immortalize their thoughts on their Forum experience by keeping a daily journal and creating what was termed Youth Commitments. They acknowledged their personal responsibility to the environment.
“I am committing myself to impart the knowledge I have garnered about the environment and use it in a way that I will most definitely prove beneficial to the ecosystem,” said Christopher Munro of Mannings High School, Jamaica.
“There are many solutions to all the environmental problems that we are facing today and it is my dream to make the world a better place for God’s wonderful creatures.”
“The forum was very enlightening,” said Ramone Gibbs of the Mannings High School, Jamaica. “It reminded that we are indeed a part of our environment and we ought to be stewards of the environment.”
“I pledge to educate the public and whomever I come in contact with about how their actions can be detrimental to the environment,” said Tanashay Cheddesingh of the Mannings High School, Jamaica. “I also pledge to help take the initial steps in protecting and preserving every aspect of the natural environment, hence promoting sustainable development and a sustainable future.”