The Young Reporters for the Environment students (YRE) in The Bahamas and the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) gained international recognition for their initiative on climate action and approach to combating plastic pollution. Recently featured in a UNDP article called, “Turning the tide, How local NGOs in Seychelles and the Bahamas are working to raise awareness and inspire action to address marine plastic pollution,” YRE students share the importance of giving our marine environment a voice.
The YRE programme aims to empower students aged 11-25 to take a stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about and give them a platform to call attention to these issues through the media of writing, photography, or video. There are more than 350,000 young reporters in 45 countries across the world.
BREEF started implementing the YRE programme in 2019, making The Bahamas the first country in the Caribbean to offer the programme. Since then, students from all over the archipelago have participated in journalism and photography workshops, and snorkel field trips led by BREEF to the mangrove and coral reefs. They have also participated annually in the “Young Reporters for the Environment National Competition” submitting entries on local and global environmental issues.
“What motivates my friends and me to protect nature is sustaining it for future generations. Nature is often neglected by human beings in today’s world and now its survival is becoming such a vital aspect of life. We have to protect it!” -Kaitlyn Archer.
Photo 1. Young Reporter for the Environment student, Kaitlyn Archer, presenting to snorkelers about the importance of protecting our coral reefs.
Kaitlyn and her peers are participating in a youth-focused project with The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) aimed at increasing knowledge about marine ecosystems and the threats they face, including plastic pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change.
The project was initially funded by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program (SGP). Lombard Odier & Cie (Bahamas) Ltd is a key sponsor of the rapidly-growing programme.
“YRE is an amazing programme because it allows young people to utilize social media in an impactful way, expressing their concerns about the environment and proposing solutions. YRE teaches our youth how to communicate effectively by utilizing a cutting-edge approach to disseminate news.” Allison Longley, National Operator for YRE in The Bahamas.
To read the GEF SGP “Turning the Tides” article and to learn more about the Young Reporters for the Environment programme, please read https://undp.shorthandstories.com/gef-sgp-turning-the-tide/ and visit www.breef.org.
Photo 3: Students participating in a Snorkel and Underwater Cleanup event.
Photo 4: YRE students participating in a PADI Women’s Day snorkel event.