Focusing on the objective of reaching as many children as possible with the message of understanding the importance of the ocean, the Sandals Foundation in Saint Lucia observed World Oceans Day 2015 with over 160 youth in Gros Islet on June 9, 2015.
The initiative saw the Sandals Foundation planning and hosting an interactive program at the Gros Islet Primary School with team members and guests informing the youth about human impact on the sustainability of the oceans.
According to Sandals Foundation Environmental Officer, Jonathan Hernould, “The Sandals Foundation is committed to continuing our efforts to educate persons about the environment by focusing on
the importance of our marine habitat and its conservation. There are many industries in the Caribbean that depend upon the oceans, such as tourism and fishing. It is important that we
share these lessons with our youth so that they understand how important the oceans are to the livelihoods of so many people and for the future of the Caribbean.”
A 45-minute “Healthy Ocean, Healthy Planet” session on the lawns of the school, saw an enlightening engagement that highlighted not only the youth’s knowledge on the protective practices of the ocean, but also sought to open their minds to the many benefits – from health to livelihoods – that mankind has for centuries reaped from the ocean. Students were made to understand the biodiversity of the ocean, its ability to trap carbon dioxide and keep the temperature of the earth to levels that sustain life. The negative human-related impact of man’s use of the ocean was not ignored with matters like solid waste management, carbon dioxide and nutrient waste taking center stage. According to the youth, the concept of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle is one that must be given more priority at home, in school and in public spaces.
The students also agreed not to litter their surroundings and, most importantly, to encourage their friends and family to do the same.
The Sandals Foundation has several active ocean conservation initiatives including sea turtle monitoring, marine sanctuary management and conch conservation. The World Oceans Day initiative is yet another way in which the Sandals Foundation continues to play its part in environmental protection by raising awareness of environmental issues and opening up the discussion about how individuals can protect the planet.