Angelique Pouponneau, 27-year-old environmental lawyer from the Seychelles. She holds the position of vice-chairperson for inclusion and engagement of the Commonwealth Youth Council. Angelique is passionate about sustainability. In 2014, she co-founded a youth-led non-governmental organisation, SYAH-Seychelles, which provides a platform for young people to advance and promote sustainability through youth-led projects. To date the biggest achievements has been the successful campaign for the ban of plastic bags in the Seychelles and the implementation of the Blue Economy Internship Programme.
For her work, she was recognised as a Queen’s Young Leader in 2016.
ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE AND LIFE BELOW WATER THROUGH ENTERPRISE
By Angelique Pouponneau
This paper serves as an overview of the 10 minutes presentation I delivered at the World Conference of Youth in Belize in November 2017 where I spoke in the session on eradicating poverty in a changing world.
We are indeed living in a changing world, and more accurately in a time of adaptation where we are faced with some of the most pressing challenges of our time which include both climate change and the health of the ocean. In brief, with warming temperatures, there has been evident impacts in changes in climate and weather patterns. In this region alone, we have seen an increase in the frequency and strength of tropical cyclones and hurricanes. The warming temperatures have also meant melting of the Arctic ice caps that had led to rise in sea levels posing an existential threat to island nations such as Maldives and Tuvalu. But we have Paris which signaled hope for an agreement that would seek to save the planet through the contributions of each member State to reduce and cut its carbon emissions. Similarly, the health of the ocean, SDG 14 life below water, is continuously threatened by illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, marine pollution and climate change itself. The latest UN report that shocked the international community was that by 2050 there will be plastic than fish in the sea. Nevertheless, there is a re-energised focus on oceans and the development of the Blue Economy which could lead to healthier oceans.
Most people who are passionate about the environment engage in climate activism through advocacy, educational workshops and cost-effective climate action such as tree-planting. But what about using enterprise to address the challenges of climate change and threats to the ocean. This paper offers three options:
Option one: ‘Greening’ Traditional Business
There are many businesses that currently exist that have a big carbon footprint (and here, I do not refer to the coal, oil or natural gas industries). Let’s take the number of office spaces or hotels as countries move away from primary industry to secondary and tertiary industries, how can their carbon footprints be reduced? There are a few ideas such as ensuring that there are water dispensers in the workplace to stop the use of plastic bottles (which take decades to degrade and some do not at all), the use of recycled paper, placing solar panels or creating gardens on the roofs of these buildings or simply turning lights off after working hours.
For hotels, there could be many ways to ‘green’ their business by not using straws, encouraging guests to be environmentally conscious when it comes to the use of lights or the washing of their towels. Additionally, encouraging their guests not to use products that have microbeads or the sunscreen which is detrimental to the marine creatures. Or, perhaps, providing a space where their guests can plant trees to offset their carbon footprint.
Option 2: New Business Ideas
The US Labour Department recently released a report with the following statistic: 65% of students today will be doing jobs that do not yet exist. Today we have an opportunity to begin new businesses that did not previously exist to address climate change and the ocean. I’d like to point to a few business ideas that emerged and are helping to address climate change and oceans.
Then, there is the cheeky way! If you are more of an advocate and campaigner then that is your starting point to make your business happen. Start a campaign to ban plastic bags, get the ban then start a business that reintroduces local alternatives such as offering classes to make your own reusable bags, importing reusable bags to supply shops and hotels.
Despite all these great ideas, there is always a need for the right enabling environment to exist, so here are a few examples of schemes in place that would encourage such enterprises.
For more ideas on eco-businesses, check out this website: http://www.eco-business.com/videos/how-young-people-are-tackling-climate-change-through-innovative-business/
I never thought that I’d be saying this, I never thought that I’d be the one writing this and that’s the same thing that many a young people said when they heard about the plastic bag ban, when they heard about the new age that Seychelles was heading towards. Seychelles; this is our island paradise, this is our home, there are no other place that can compare in our hearts. So why do we deny it justice? Why do we resent its cry for a change and a healthy life?
Earlier last year in the year 2016 the motion for the banning of plastic bags were announced, we all heard it, we were all aware of this because not only was the talk in rooms, however also on the streets, I know this because from the elderly to the school children everyone was talking about it. Not everything being said was positive however everything being said was going to happen.
The motion was like a virus released into the air and the only thing that we were to do now was to find ways in which we can either protect ourselves from it or once death time has been reached die with it. Some of us headed the warning, ways and alternatives discovered, antidotes created, however a few of us called it bluff.
Organisations such as the SIDS Youth AIMS hub had been doing everything in their power to educate about the ban of the plastic bag ban. It varied from online engagement on their social media Facebook page, to education in the local newspapers and in schools with young people.
Plastics; the weeds in our garden; the sweet surrender of a drug within our system- we may try to deny its addiction by making excuses but it’s there. We depend on it. We salvage in its sweet toxic of bliss and destruction, the smoke and seduction of pollution in our lungs. Take away our dose and we want to bask in its ugly beautiful.
We live in Seychelles and the first thing that we say when someone asks “Seychelles? What about it?” our immediate response is. “The most beautiful islands in the middle of the Indian ocean” and I’m not going to contradict that, it is one of the most beautiful islands in the world, and its beauty doesn’t come from its development, its beauty doesn’t come from its toxic being released in the air. It comes from the beauty of the white sandy beaches married to the undeniable blue sea and the cleanliness of such features lorded by the granite rocks that tower above all creatures big and small.
The key component of what makes Seychelles, and what will drive it to a brighter future is the sustainable development, the guarantee of a brighter future for all the generations to come.
So, should we run and get to the finish line first with a few broken bones and bloodied hamstrings or should we take our time and bask in the oxygenated gale of the islands and reach the finish line with healthy lungs and intact muscles? In other words, should we take a step back and revoke the plastic ban or should we finally live up to being smart nation and start caring about what matters most.
It’s up to you! Crush the addiction or just another shot of the good stuff!
By Joshua Sofola
Love can be defined in so many ways; In Multiple languages and in an immense amount of ways. There are no holds that love doesn’t have on us. If you write down a social equation there is no answer that won’t have love as a common denominator.
With less than 5 years dedicated to youth work, from co-founding an NGO, organizing talks in schools and the community and workshops on the importance of environment sustainability, and after feeling satisfied that you have executed the master plan successfully, it all boils down to one question – How do I measure impact?
The SIDS Youth AIMS Hub - Seychelles joined the international organisation Positive Change for Marine Life in Australia in a Marine Debris Challenge. This involved conducting a series of beach clean ups across the country including islands such as Silhouette and Cousin Island leading up to Earth Day.
Seychelles free from plastic bags by 2016?
The Seychelles, a small island Developing State, at the forefront of the fight to save our Mother Earth and combat climate change yet Seychelles should stand envious of countries like Rwanda when it comes to plastic bags. In 2008, Rwanda got tough on plastic bags by deciding to effect a complete ban on the non-biodegradable polythene bags. The country is looking to ban other types of plastic and is even hinting at the possibility of become the world's first plastic free nation. Can we beat them to it? Like the Seychelles Constitution, the Constitution of Rwanda recognises the right to a clean and safe environment. A right that is recognised and enforceable under the law.
Some people see climate change as merely a concept, the beginning of a conspiracy theory or an attempt to shy away from the real issues whilst others experience this first hand and suffer the consequences. Many people see it as a national problem whilst others see it as an international problem. This first article will explore how Seychellois of all ages see climate change.
With 73% of participants thinking that nothing has really followed after the UN meeting in the 1992, whose responsibility is it to fight climate change? Who has failed to take their responsibility 23 years ago? The statistics from the Seychelles reveals some concern. With 1% of participants expressing that they are not concerned by climate change the wheels of my mind begin to turn as this can only mean that a certain percentage of the population are simply not concerned by this. This is worsened by the statistics that show 7% of people say the present system should not be changed substantially and 16% insisting that exploration of fossil fuels should continue. Anxiety worsens as 9% of participants state that climate change should not be a national priority. Will we ever reach carbon zero? In the Seychelles with the creation of a Ministry for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, a principal secretary for Climate change and a national committee dealing with climate change climate change is perceived to be a national priority on a national level but should it be government’s problem alone?
There is good news!
The weather seemed like it was going to wreck everything but with Mother Earth we can expect anything. Within an hour the skies cleared and the sun was out again. Members of the Hub car pooled to the Four Seasons Resort at Baie Lazare to spend the afternoon with WISEOCEANS and the marine creatures that lies beneath the ocean surface in the Petit Anse Bay.
83 people made an appearance to this youth and ocean focussed event organised by the SIDS Youth AIMS Hub- Seychelles on the 28th March 2015 at 1330. The enthusiasm and interest in the topic of the Blue Economy concept was obvious. This half day workshop was opened by the Minister of Finance, Trade and the Blue economy. He reached out to the youths asking that they seize the opportunities that are available and especially to take up careers that would assist with the development of the blue economy. Miss Shantana Barbe, the Secretary of SIDS Youth AIMS Hub- Seychelles gave a short address on the objectives behind this event. The first half of the workshop was aimed at providing education and empowerment for young people in the development of the Blue Economy. The second half was SYAH-SEYCHELLES insisting that youths are involved in the development of the Blue Economy by bringing high level officials to spend an afternoon listening to the concerns and proposals of young people regarding its development and where they seem themselves fitting in.