As the world focuses on the COVID-19 global pandemic, a group of Caribbean youths have kept their eyes focused on planting trees, convinced that the Climate Change challenges pose an even greater existential threat if they do not act now.
They are part of a C aribbean Tree Planting Project (CTPP) initiated by the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance. The core objectives of the CTPP are: 1) To plant at least one (1) million trees and engage related climate action in at least 10 Caribbean countries; 2) Promote Caribbean Youth and Caribbean Diaspora activism aroundclimate change; and 3) Highlight thesignificance of multi-stakeholder partnerships andcollaborative actions, especially among philanthropists, required to accelerate achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDGs 13 and 15.
CARICOM Youth Ambassador Lyle Jackson, k icked-off the C TPP at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium i n A ntigua & Barbuda on Saturday, February 22, 2020 and became f irst CARICOM c ountry to officially launch its national project. Since then, more than 320,000 trees have been planted in the following thirteen (13) Caribbean countries/territories involved in the CTPP: Antigua and Barbuda; The Bahamas; Barbados; Cayman Islands;Dominica; D ominican Republic, Guyana; Haiti; J amaica; Saint Croix; Saint Lucia; S uriname; and Trinidad and Tobago.
Leading the youth arm of the CTPP, Chaz Garraway, a 4th year student at Dalhousie University, has been at the forefront of mobilizing the youths across t he Caribbean to mitigate climate impacts by planting trees a nd pursuing other climate action. In an effort to sustain and energize youths during the COVID-19 shut-down, Chaz and his youthful team, aided by Trees that Feed Foundation, launched a Tree Planting Competition on June 5, 2020, entitled “It Starts with a Seed,” to encourage and incentivize tree planting in the Caribbean during the pandemic. T he competition ended on September 13, 2020.
The CTPP Commitment to Action was highlighted by former President Bill Clinton at the 5th meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery held in Puerto Rico, in February 2020. In support of this CGI Commitment to Action, the CGI Action Network in collaboration with the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance will host a “Caribbean Tree Planting: Empowering Youth Climate Action” forum on October 8, 2020. The event will celebrate the accomplishments of the youths who have won the It Starts with a Seed Competition and attendees will hear directly from the winners about their experience.
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