NASSAU, BAHAMAS — In 2020, plans for a major ocean advocacy initiative between the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and Miya Bahamas were derailed by the events surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, however, the organizations have rallied to execute those plans within the parameters of the new normal.
Miya Bahamas Project Manager Mario Tavera said: “The Trust is widely regarded for its environmental advocacy on both land and sea, so they were the perfect partner to help us launch our campaign.”
Designed to raise awareness about the linkages between climate change and water, the collaboration is the latest in a series of water-focused initiatives launched by the company since it began operating in The Bahamas.
“Water is our most precious resource — we must use it more responsibly and balance all our water needs,” Tavera said.
In recent years, the global climate crisis has taken center stage as temperatures increase across the planet.
BNT Director of Education Portia Sweeting noted: “Here at home, we’ve seen first-hand evidence of the impact of climate change. The best example was Hurricane Dorian, which caused extreme devastation, massive flooding and now we are seeing the effects of climate change on the distribution of rainfall and groundwater.”
In planning its series of activities to mark the observance of United Nations Water Day 2020, MIYA Bahamas awarded the BNT a $5,000 grant in 2020 to support a “Climate and Water” event.
Tavera noted: “Our combined efforts are meant to ensure that everyone has access to clean, healthy water now and well into the future.”
Through the partnership with Miya Bahamas, the BNT’s water and climate event aimed to teach simple steps that everyone can immediately take to make a big difference to improve awareness and inspire actions that conserve water.
The campaign, which is set to be relaunched later this year, will take an integrated view on water, the biosphere and the environmental flows required to decelerate climate change, protect from extremes and adapt to the unavoidable at the same time.
Sweeting explained: “Reducing the need for energy-intensive water pumping and treatments that can contribute to the degradation of critical water-dependent carbon sinks such as wetlands.”
Phase one of the relaunched initiative will forgo plans for in-person trips to the Bonefish Pond National Park and instead focus on a youth-focused program targeting school-aged students through the BNT’s Navigator program. The navigator program, which is the high school level of BNT’s Discovery Club, will target groups of 15 students belonging to eight active schools throughout The Bahamas in fall 2021.
As many as 45 groups are expected to participate in BNT’s Discovery Club environmental education program overall. Members of the BNT team will join members of the Miya team at registration booths set up at strategic locations for new registrants to receive welcome packages generously donated by Miya Bahamas.
Sign-up will open in September at campuses around New Providence, giving scores of students the opportunity to participate.
Sweeting said: “Through this collaboration with Miya Bahamas, we hope to drive registration to our young navigator’s club, giving these students fellowshipping opportunities with their peers while teaching and building transferable skills, which they can take with them well into the future.”
Interested students may visit the BNT’s website at www.bnt.bs or connect via social media at https://www.facebook.com/Bahamas-National-Trust-25034035861.