No planet B: Caribbean Youth on the Frontlines of Climate Action
International Day for Climate Action was born out of activism by the environmental organisation 350.org to cut fossil fuel use and switch to renewable energy to avoid further harmful carbon emissions.
Since the first occurrence of the day in 2009 a global climate action movement has emerged to reduce carbon emissions and save the planet and Caribbean youth are offering solutions and driving advocacy.
Take for example, Damani Thomas, a Jamaican in his twenties and Founder/CEO/Chief Researcher of the startup company Carbon Neutral Initiative. The company aims to decarbonise the transport sector and has received support from the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre, Cambridge Cleantech and others.
Thomas’ invention, D30 is a semi-synthetic biofuel designed to burn cleaner and more efficiently than E10, a lower emissions fuel introduced in the UK in 2021. A second invention, the carbon attack filter targets passenger vehicle emissions, trapping greenhouse gases from their exhaust.
In Trinidad and Tobago, young biochemist Amanda Ramdass is pioneering a biotech solution that uses microbes to clean soils of harmful oil spills from the oil and gas industry in the twin island state. The solution is critical to addressing not only soil pollution but the cascade effects it has on water and air.
Youth-led organisations like the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) and the Caribbean Youth Climate Justice Coalition (CYCCJ), are hubs for youth advocacy, education and learning around climate issues. Caribbean youth from these entities represented the region in the first youth-led climate forum in the Children and Youth Pavilion at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt in 2022 (COP27).
Barbadian youth advocate Mikaela Hinds participated in the Green Summit also in 2022. Ashley Lashley, Another Barbadian and UNICEF youth advocate, founded the Ashley Lashley Foundation in 2019, which introduced the Youth Climate Action Summit and Expo as one its initiatives.
The Foundation has also created the HEY Global Climate Fund, which will this year award projects from three young climate activists with a US$2500 grant.
All around the region young entrepreneurs, scientists, orators and activists are joining the climate action movement. For them there is “no planet B”.