Meet Renatta, Dany and Naudelis, respectively from English, French and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, who tell us how they became environmental and climate activists with the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN). Join now their call to sign the Stay Alive and Thrive petition, as part of a youth-led campaign on the road to COP26!
Naudelis, Puerto Rico
My name is Naudelis and I am fortunate to say that I am from the Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico, where I was born and raised. I am 24 years old and I am a law student at the University of Puerto Rico.
My interest in climate and environmental justice began when I was in high school and I met other young people interested in preserving the culture and natural resources of Puerto Rico. During this time, I learned about various efforts by communities and individuals fighting to preserve their natural resources and demanding environmental justice.
In 2017, Hurricane Maria collectively woke us up and made us see a reality: we are vulnerable to Climate Change. We lost everything including the green of nature. After the hurricane I joined the CYEN Puerto Rico team to help with the reforestation campaign. We delivered fruit trees to the affected communities and little by little we reached the majority of the municipalities with our deliveries.
My passion for social justice inspired me to start studying law to learn how to use the tools available in this area to inspire change and continue to support the projects that I am part of. The Stay Alive and Thrive campaign gives us the opportunity and hope that Caribbean communities will be heard. We need everyone to take action to achieve resilience.
I believe in social changes from the community bases. And when we unite: we have the power to claim and work for our future.
My name is Renatta and I am 26 years old. I love all animals, plants and preserving the environment.
As a child I grew up being surrounded by nature, as one does living on an island as small as Grenada. As I grew up, I experienced my beautiful island being affected by climate change including hurricanes, droughts, and sea-level rise. As I grew older and learned more about how the world functions, I realised the biggest impact I could make would be to study sustainable development to ensure that as countries develop, it is in a way that protects our environment. Thus I got a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy where I learned about the world’s climate problems and solutions.
I took what I learned back to Grenada where I worked for a short time at an NGO and learned about many climate adaptation initiatives for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It was at that time I came across CYEN, which I eagerly joined and where I found so many like-minded young persons in Grenada. Here I was able to take part in campaigns and programs including being a coordinator for the International Coastal Clean-up, participating in a climate change finance program and more.
I now work in the private sector at an hotel that is climate smart! We use solar panels to generate electricity, a biogas machine for food waste disposal and methane production, rainwater collections and grey-water systems to irrigate the grounds! It is my goal to encourage more private sector businesses to take this same route.
The Stay Alive and Thrive campaign is a reminder to encourage everyone that we can make a change to ensure we and future generations live in a safe and thriving planet. Let’s continue the good fight
My name is Dany. I just turned 29 and I live in Haiti, the Pearl of the Antilles.
Since the earthquake of 2010, which devastated my country, I have had this will, this rage to do more to help Haitians, to help Haiti. This has resulted in my multiple volunteer activities and “mobile clinic” sessions providing medical assistance in the most remote corners of the country. But I wanted to do more, to be part of something bigger. The Haitian environment was deteriorating in front of my eyes, I decided to respond.
So I joined CYEN-Haiti, quickly making a place for myself in this family. From a simple member, through becoming a speaker then editor, I was finally appointed Executive Director. I am happy to continue to help with the various activities of the organization (beach clean-up, reforestation, etc.) which are close to my heart.
As an environmental activist, I think one should in particular:
1. Target and involve as many young people as possible (hence the importance of the Stay Alive and Thrive campaign)
2. Implement concrete actions, because we can clearly see how increasingly difficult it is to manage the effects of climate change on certain countries, especially in the Caribbean.
In Haiti, priority should be given to intensifying reforestation campaigns, improving land use planning and ensuring optimal recycling of waste. Actions taken today will benefit future generations. We must therefore act responsibly now. After all, this is our planet and it is up to us to take care of it.