The Bahamas Plastic Movement asked us to share this press release. Our pleasure!

Bahamian Youth Travel to California to Fight Ocean Plastic Pollution

Article by Ashley Akerberg (Bahamas Plastic Movement)

Dana Point, CA, Feb 23rd, 2016 – Ten young Bahamian change makers from Preston H. Albury High School’s Eco Club and Deep Creek Middle School’s Eco Club, in collaboration with The Bahamas Plastic Movement (BPM) and Space to Create, joined passionate youth from around the world to address the global plastics pollution crisis. An estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic pollute the world’s oceans today. The Plastic Ocean Pollution Solution (POPS) Youth Summit, hosted by Algalita empowers the world’s leaders of tomorrow to address this growing issue. Held in Dana Point, California at the Ocean Institute, energized youth spent three days learning about current scientific research, sharing their experiences addressing plastics pollution, and receiving direct mentorship from professionals to improve upon plans and projects which respond to the plastic pollution problems affecting their home communities and nations.

The Bahamas Plastic Movement has proudly supported Algalita’s POPS Youth Summit for three consecutive years by facilitating workshops and various activities. “Bahamian youth attendance at the Summit is very important as it provides exposure to this crucial issue of plastic pollution and energizes our students to take action on the Bahamian forefront”, said Kristal Ambrose, Founder and Director of BPM . “In my opinion this has been the best year yet,” said Ambrose. “In comparison to other years, there was a new energy that took over the entire summit. The students were more confident, social, comfortable and overall excited and empowered. The ideas presented were great and very inspiring.”

Designed by young people, for young people, the Summit is a platform that allows students to take center stage and demonstrate how young people have the passion and ideas needed to change the world. “The activities put the students at the centre of the experience which is always best,” said Will Simmons, Advisor to the Eco Club and Co-Director of Space to Create.

“I thought the Craft Your Campaign session for students was one of the best events of the Summit,” said Tiffany Gray, an Environmental Educator for BPM, who was inspired by the opportunity for young leaders to plan projects, and to receive guidance and mentorship from professionals. “Students had the opportunity to work as a group and focus on the intricacies of their projects: where they are, where they want to go with it, and what some of the challenges have been/will be.”

Preston H. Albury’s Eco Club from Rock Sound, Eleuthera provided the summit with an integrated approach to environmental action combining Bahamian music and arts with the sciences. “Our presence here and how we brought forward our way of life, our culture, our dance, our language, our singing, just pumped them up more, motivated them,” said Pauliesha Thompson, President of Preston Albury Eco-Club.

Destinee Outten, youth ambassador for BPM presented her trashion fashion clothing and accessories to the international crowd. She takes commonly discarded items, like Capri Sun pouches, and creates stylish and thought-provoking clothing and accessories. “Seeing my designs on an international stage, that made me happy,” said Outten. “I was shocked. It really made me realize that it may not be a trend for people now, but in the future it would be realized that maybe this could actually go further than I ever imagined if I just keep on pushing.” Ambrose showed pride in the leadership Outten demonstrated during her trashion fashion presentation. “The most powerful moment of the Summit for me, was too see Destinee get up on stage, confidently talk about who she was, where she was from and what inspired her to make trashion fashion designs,” said Ambrose, “She truly demonstrated the idea of youth actively working towards finding solutions to the issue.      Eco Club students also performed “Refuse It,” an original Bahamian Rake n’ Scrape song they created to promote plastics awareness.  Simmons was honored to see Bahamian culture inspiring young people from around the world. “When I looked at the stage and saw my students up there,” he said, “bold and confident, sharing their story of ocean conservation through Bahamian culture and music in front of an audience of hundreds, I was very proud. We didn’t just come to LA to learn, we also taught and inspired students from other countries.” Simmons added “When young people realize they have something to offer the world, you feel like the most important part of your job is done.”

Eco Club students left the POPS Summit with inspiration and determination to address plastics pollution. Destinee Outten learned, “No matter what or how hard it gets, make a difference in the world, especially with plastic pollution, even if you’ve never tried because then one day, if you don’t, the issue might just keep on getting bigger and bigger and when you decide to do something it will be too late. So take a stand now while you can and be the power and change.”

To learn more about how the Bahamas Plastic Movement is addressing plastics pollution, visit www.bahamasplasticmovement.org and learn about the POPS Youth Summit at http://2015.algalitayouthsummit.org/

 

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