Essential Real-Life Experiences – The Royal Gazette

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Created: May 18, 2022 07:52

Students in the Bermuda Institute of Underwater Exploration Youth Climate Summit program continue to engage with businesses and organizations committed to addressing the impact of climate change in Bermuda.

Youth Climate Summit students approve their electric bus tour

Department of Energy’s Adrian Dill addresses Youth Climate Summit attendees ahead of their electric bus tour

YCS attendees experienced the smooth acceleration of Xiamen’s new electric bus as it took them from BUEI to the streets of Hamilton on April 12. All agreed that it was much quieter and would significantly reduce noise pollution and fumes produced by the existing fleet of diesel-powered buses on Bermuda’s roads.

Trunk Island

Trunk Island

Plant trees on Trunk Island

Plant trees on Trunk Island

Plant trees on Trunk Island

Many countries wishing to develop a sustainable public transport system to combat climate change have learned that it is not easy to act on it. Bermuda was no exception. Participants received a detailed account of the complex political, social and economic considerations that were undertaken to replace a large part of the bus fleet. While initial options required considerable customization for Bermuda’s narrow roads, through the work of the Department of Energy and Department of Public Transportation, a relatively cost effective solution was identified which resulted in the purchase of six electric buses .

The students were impressed that this project was handled during a global pandemic and could easily have been derailed. They asked many questions and were pleased with effective emissions strategies in place, including recycling plans for used batteries. It’s easy to criticize this decision, as power generation is based on fossil fuels, but that’s set to change as renewables become a bigger part of Bermuda’s energy sector.

The introduction of these buses has already triggered several changes in the transport system — for example, the training of drivers and mechanics — as in other countries. Participants recognized through this exploratory discussion that sustainable development may not be perfect, but at least it is moving in the right direction.

Another more recent and hands-on excursion was a trip to Trunk Island and the Bermuda Zoological Society Living Classroom on April 30, thanks to support from our YCS partner, RenaissanceRe. During this trip, participants were introduced to the Trunk Island Restoration Program run by BZS experts and sponsored by their network of generous donors.

Under the direction of BZS staff, they were able to plant 29 native trees: green button, Bermuda cedar and Jamaican dogwood. It was a great source of satisfaction for the group, as these trees will eventually serve as a second line of defense against storm surges, which are a growing climate threat in Bermuda. More formidable, these trees will be a future windbreak for a new mangrove site on Trunk Island. As the students discovered, native trees are perfectly adapted to the salty, windy terrain of Bermuda and respond more favorably to hurricanes than introduced non-native species.

There are, however, multiple dependencies that must be considered in large-scale restoration projects, and timing these efforts is a painstaking but highly rewarding process. The students appreciated the ongoing efforts at Trunk Island to restore the habitat of many endemic species, such as the Bermuda land snail. They enjoyed the sight of many birds and were impressed by the long-tailed igloo settlements set up around the island.

Biodiversity is an essential antidote to increasing human and climate stressors, and educating our youth on how to protect our environment is a central role of BZS and the Trunk Island Project. During this visit, the YCS group crossed paths with an even younger generation of students attending the BZS Science Club and had the chance to discuss their climate action projects. Although the results of conservation are never immediate, the real experiences of environmental protection are and remain imprinted on the generations of young people who pass through the BZS living classroom at Trunk Island.

We would like to thank everyone who generously shared their knowledge to support the Youth Climate Summit and for inspiring our youth as they deepen their understanding of the conservation, sustainability and climate justice initiatives taking place in Bermuda. . These and future excursions will allow participants of this year-long program to expand their knowledge and better understand their role in solving critical real-world environmental problems.

Rosemarie McMahon, PhD, is the Consulting Director of the Youth Climate Programme, an initiative of the Bermuda Institute of Underwater Exploration

Rosemarie McMahon, PhD, is the Consulting Director of the Youth Climate Programme, an initiative of the Bermuda Institute of Underwater Exploration. Established by private act of the Parliament of Bermuda in 1992 and officially opened in July 1997, BUEI is a registered non-profit organization and receives no government funding. The organization relies on the continued financial support of the community to deliver impactful, high-quality educational programs and initiatives, including the Eco-Schools Bermuda program and the Youth Climate Summit. For more information on the Youth Climate Summit, visit www.YCSBda.com

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