Every year, 11 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the ocean — on track to triple by 2040 without concerted global efforts to stop it. In the Caribbean specifically, native mangroves and coral reefs could help protect more than a quarter of the people at risk by serving as a buffer between coastal communities and ocean waves or flooding, and by significantly reducing erosion.
Gonzalo Morales Divo
These are among the issues that will dominate Ocean Heroes Network’s first-ever Ocean Heroes Regional Boot Camp in the Caribbean, in partnership with local youth and non-governmental organisations (NGO), that will take place virtually on December 6 and December 11-13. Registration is open to youth ages 11-18 from all 36 Caribbean nations and territories and close on November 30. They will gather to explore and discuss pressures and challenges facing the health of the Caribbean Sea and our shared ocean.
The boot camp is usually held in-person, but the format has been changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and, this year, will focus specifically on the health of the Caribbean Sea. The camp will seek to raise awareness and engagement on issues such as protecting biodiversity, marine conservation and plastic pollution.
Gonzalo Jorge Morales Divo
The youth will collaborate with existing and emerging youth leaders, NGOs, scientists and policymakers in the Caribbean region to learn critical campaigning skills, and will have the opportunity to join forces to develop individual or collective campaigns and action plans. The boot camp will focus on three core areas: plastic pollution, ocean connection through awareness and engagement; and biodiversity and marine conservation
Action needed now “The youth know the issues in their communities best and have the foresight to know that if they don’t take action, their future is at stake,” says CEO of Lonely Whale and founding partner of Ocean Heroes Network, Dune Ives. “The next generation of Caribbean youth is working together to protect their marine habitats and are working together for the future they want and the future they deserve: a future with clean seas.”
“Young people who are armed with the tools to create systemic change, whether at the global or grass-roots level, have no limit to the issues they can solve,” according to President and CEO of Captain Planet Foundation and founding partner of the Ocean Heroes Network, Leesa Carter-Jones. “For two years, Ocean Heroes have been trained on tackling plastic pollution at a global scale, and our hope is that through regional boot camps, the youth can discover and take hold of issues unique to their region and connect the dots to make real, lasting change in their communities.”
Once completing the Ocean Heroes Regional Boot Camp in the Caribbean, participants will become part of the global Ocean Heroes Network — a force of more than 1,500 young people from more than 50 nations committed to campaigning year-round for ocean health