9 FEB 2022
A “Mobile Outdoor Classroom” on board a brand-new fully electric vehicle was launched on Wednesday February 9th, by the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) as part of their ongoing efforts to make marine environmental education safe, fun and engaging.
The electric outdoor classroom vehicle, soon to be outfitted with solar panels, was donated to BREEF through a strategic grant from the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio welcomed the initiative as a groundbreaking and positive development for amplifying messages on the environment and integrating the population into sustainable development efforts. “I congratulate BREEF for acquiring a sustainable mode of transportation using sustainable energy resources to reinforce public education related specifically to marine conservation and biodiversity and renewable energy. I am encouraged by the role of young people in this effort and encourage them to remain vocal and creative in advocating for change that matters,” she said.
Educational resources on marine biodiversity and conservation, renewable energy and sustainable development will be delivered aboard the mobile classroom to local schools and field study sites across New Providence, through BREEF’s “Young Reporters for the Environment: Giving our Marine Environment a Voice” project, also funded through the GEF SGP/UNDP grant.
BREEF Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert acknowledged the support and stated: “As an archipelago, The Bahamas is dependent on a healthy ocean that sustains lives and livelihoods. BREEF’s Young Reporters for the Environment helps inspire young people to become active stewards of the waters around us and active participants in the sustainable Blue Economy. This new electric vehicle allows us to not only take students to the ocean, but bring the ocean to students.“
During a launch event at Delaporte Beach executed as a fresh air classroom session, discussions on Renewable Energy, Climate Change and Coral Reefs were led by the BREEF joined by students from the Young Reporters for the Environment programme and executives from UNDP/GEF SGP. Students learned more about the importance of preserving and protecting the marine environment to include the need to shift towards more sustainable development and renewable energy.
Speaking on behalf of the Young Reporters for the Environment, National Operator, Allison Longley noted that
“87 percent of human-produced carbon dioxide emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels. It is important for small island nations like The Bahamas to make the shift towards alternative energy sources to help mitigate the ongoing global climate crisis.”
BREEF’s Young Reporters for the Environment programme in The Bahamas, is designed to empower young people to effectively communicate about environmental issues and give the ocean a voice.
During the outdoor classroom session students were asked what motivates them to protect our marine environment.
Makhi Gray, age 9, responded “I love the water and seeing all the fish, I don’t want to see them going extinct. Fish are important too; they keep our coral reefs healthy by cleaning the algae off of them.”
The debut of the electric vehicle classroom further empowers the young people to make learning about solar energy more fun and support the nation’s goals to embrace alternative energy sources.
The Bahamas has pledged to “fully embrace” the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to include the nation’s Energy policy to derive 30% of energy needs from renewable sources.
Students interested in learning more about The Young Reporters for the Environment Programme and how to register can call BREEF’s office at 242-327-9000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo 1: Denise Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative ( Right) passing the keys to the electric vehicle to Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, BREEF Executive Director. Electric Vehicle donated to BREEF through a strategic grant from the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Photo 2; Group photo of BREEF officials with some of the students that attend the Outdoor Classroom experience.
Photo 3; (Left to Right) Deon Stewart Global Environment Facility National Coordinator, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert BREEF Executive Director, Denise Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative, Allison Longley, Young Reporters for the Environment National Operator.
Photo 4; Bahamian Environmental Steward Scholar ( BESS) Abigail Rolle demonstrating to the class how to measure a Queen conch.
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