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The CYEN is a non-profit, civil society, charitable body that focuses its resources on empowering young people and their communities. Mission - The Caribbean Youth Environment Network is a non -profit organisation that is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Caribbean young people by facilitating their personal development and promoting their full involvement in all matters pertaining to the environment and sustainable development. The organisation promotes education and training, Caribbean integration and community empowerment as tools to develop an ethic amongst young people that assists in the conservation and protection of natural resources within the wider Caribbean. .................................................................................................................................................................................................

Contact Us - 16 – 20 Anva Plaza, Eastern Main Road, Tunapuna (868) 739 – 6343 or (868)747 - 8831 or

Or visit our website at Contributing Writers -Rianna Gonzales, Zac Bermudez, Khadija La Croix, Dizzanne Billy Photo Credits - Various CYEN-TT members, The Knowledge Fair Team Design and Layout - Dizzanne Billy, Rianna Gonzales

Cover picture : The CYEN-TT team together with the beautiful young children of "D" Kids Early Learning Academy's vacation camp - Camp Friends. 2

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.� - Benjamin Franklin





Why should they listen to

us?...Youth, the essence of change

13 14

World Environment Day 2013


Solar Power in Trinidad and Tobago


World Oceans' Day 2013

Las Islas Bonitas



News from the CYEN-TT Desk




Word on the Street...Tobago Edition


Interview with Mr. Carver Bacchus




CYEN-TT Junior Upcyclers


FRACKING (fr-ack-ing) - verb - also known more formally by the term hydraulic fracturing, is a procedure which enables the extraction of oil and natural gas from rock formations deep below the earth's surface. The process involves drilling thousands of metres into the ground, and blasting water and chemicals, sometimes described as fracturing fluids, into the rock in order to extract gas which is embedded in deposits of shale, a rock which is not very permeable and therefore potentially contains gas reservoirs. The resulting fuel is consequently often described as shale gas.


We pounded the streets in search of ways to actively engage & inform the public about what we do! TAKE A LOOK!

San City Green Expo 2013 provided an avenue to showcase environmentally sustainable businesses, NGO’s and Governmental Agencies in one location. The public interacted and became more empowered regarding the environment.

At the SanCity Green Expo 2013, CYEN-TT members immersed themselves in public interaction, marketing CYEN, promoting environmentalism and our upcoming project - "UPCYCLING: FROM TRASH TO TREASURE." Hats off to our volunteers, who worked through both torrential rain and scorching heat!


Volunteers got the opportunity to make their own environmental posters for display at our booth & not only were the young ones drawn to them but they listened to us speak about environmental issues and sustainability...WHO KNEW?!


On June 5th 2013, the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) hosted its first ever Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) UNDP Caribbean Knowledge Fair to observe World Environment Day 2013

CYEN-TT was officially invited to be one of the groups advocating for environmental awareness at the Knowledge Fair 2013.


Ms. Wendy Seow, National Energy Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Limited speaking as a panellist on Corporate Social Responsibility .

Popular local comedians Errol Fabien, Nicki Crosby, Penelope Spencer and Kerrie Fabien portray the importance of proper garbage disposal in a skit entitled Comedy of Horrors at the Knowledge Fair.

Odessa Fortune(CYENTT Treasurer) displaying one of our upcycled items - a jewellery holder made out of used Coca Cola tin cans




Why should they listen to us? ...Youth, the essence of change By - Rianna Gonzales

“We are not going to solve our problems operating at the same level of thinking that created them.” So why then is our future in the hands of the people that created the problem in the first place? The youth of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean are more than just the leaders of tomorrow; we are the leaders of today! If you take a moment to think you will see that the most remarkable innovations of this generation, the ones that are impacting our lives have been the inventions of persons under the age of 30. Google, Twitter and Facebook all young people who have changed the face of communication. Who are the game changers? Who are the activists and lobbyists? The youth organizations! So why we do we fight,? Why do we stand up for change? It’s our future and its worth fighting for. We want to see a positive change and we believe that we can do it! Our generation of young people, sees no boundaries, no limits, no obstacles. We stimulate our imagination and think outside the preverbal box; in fact we destroy the box! Ultimately, we have nothing to lose but everything to gain. If this does not convince you let me break it down for you in point form:

1. Young people are open to new ideas and are not constrained by how things “should be” We have not been around long enough to feel attached to the social norms and we are not restricted by their expectations.

2. Young people have nothing to lose There is nothing for us to risk, no mortgage, debts or family to support.

3. Young people are not completely desensitized to injustice The sight of suffering still makes us cringe and we are driven to make things better. Older folks have grown accustomed to the wrongs of the world and worse they have accepted them.

4. Our minds are sponges for information We are wired for learning. Digesting large volumes of information and transforming them into innovative solutions is what we do best. We can adapt quickly to any situation and adjust responses.

5. We are fluent in modern technology, heck we created it! We are the gurus of the .com, hashtags and IM’s (if you don’t know what I’m talking about you must be over 35). We utilize technology to share information across the region and the world in an instant. Our networks cross the 1000’s and we have them at our fingertips!

6. We don’t questions



As youth we are already perceived as inexperienced and “green” so our egos are not tarnished when we admit that we don’t know something, it’s almost expected. On the other hand, the option to admit ignorance is less appealing. Our humility and willingness to learn puts us in the best position for dealing with issues.


////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 7. We have energy to burn We juggle school, work, extra-curriculas and still have enough energy to stay up all night and function the next day. We are persistent and we have no qualms chugging Red Bull to get what we want to get done.

8. We are optimistic Though some adults might call this naïve but this characteristic allows hope to blossom and dreams to come into reality. Maybe we really don’t understand the true complexities and challenges of the “grown up” world but maybe that’s our advantage – these obstacles don’t exist so they can’t stop us!

9. We know what it is to be marginalized We have always been told that “you can’t do that until you’re older!” We can’t vote or drink till we are 18 and can’t watch certain movies (but can pay the adult price), there are even age limits to when we can start and finish school. We know what it is not to be in control of our lives, to be marginalized in society and we are more willing to stand up against social injustice.

10. We love and forgive To be a change maker you must have a passion or a love for something but you must also be willing to forgive. We are more open and accepting of others. We understand differences and realize that these differences are not to be discriminated, we don’t have time for revenge and vendettas…..we move forward!

"The desire of the youth to participate is the defining characteristic of young people and we should not confuse apathy about issues with a lack of knowledge and passion on issues and challenges facing our country. Give us the opportunity and support and you will be surprised just how much we can accomplish." - Rianna Gonzales (National Co-Ordinator CYENTT)


" The desire of youth to participate is the defining characteristic of young people and we should not confuse apathy about issues with a lack of knowledge and passion on issues and challenges facing our country. Give us the opportunity and support and you will be surprised by how much we can accomplish" - Rianna Gonzales (National Coordinator CYEN-T&T)

las islas bonitas - Manzanilla, Trinidad eaning 'little apple,' Manzanilla is an admired area in T&T. This picturesque village is reknowned for having the longest stretch of beach in Trinidad (21km) that is densely populated by towering cocunut trees, the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean waters that wash upon its shores and the mass of seaturles that these waters bring with them during the local nesting season (March to September)


World Environment Day June 2013

World Environment Day is an annual event that happens on the 5th June every year that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. The theme this year was:

Through World Environment Day, the United Nations Environment Programme is able to personalize environmental issues and enable everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development. Together we can ensure a cleaner, greener and brighter outlook for ourselves and future generations. In keeping with the theme for World Environment Day 2013: THINK.EAT.SAVE, the Knowledge Fair 2013 focused on our capacity to "Share to Protect" our environment. It proposes knowledge-sharing and networking to achieve sustainability.

One of the upcycled items that caught the most attention - A vase made out of an old light-bulb

CYEN-TT demonstrated the use of Up-Cycling to show how reusing "waste" materials can reduce wastage and create functional new items. Do you know how an old plastic bottle can become a stylish broom?

SOLAR POWER IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO By: Zak Bermudez (Form 6, St. Mary's College) Trinidad and Tobago has an economy based on the production and export of oil and gas; thus the use of alternative energy sources is not common. However, falling reserves, the possibility of the withdrawal of Government subsidies on the use of oil and gas and a growing environmental awareness has resulted in a search for an alternative. Solar power can be described simply as energy derived from the sun, through the use of solar panels. In the long run, compared to electricity it will provide a virtually free supply of power for household appliances or even the entire home. The upfront cost of a solar system to generate enough power for the common home can be quite high, however it does not require much maintenance and there will no longer be the need to rely on the country’s electric grid, it is also the environmentally friendly option. Solar Power in Trinidad has been thought of as a last resort option. It’s availability to the population is limited and the attitude of the public towards it prohibits any form of development in the industry. It is being invested in more readily in other parts of the Caribbean where oil and gas reserves are limited or nonexistent. It can be argued that Trinbagonians are aware of solar power to some extent, but the masses of the people are not ready to accept it into society. As long as the current reliance on oil is kept, it will be difficult for solar power to start being widely used. However, through the use of the media, educational facilities and incentives as well as a more positive attitude of the public, solar power can begin to thrive and create a sustainable future for the country. 14


Cocal Spit, Manzanilla - Trinidad This dynamic area is where the freshwater of the Nariva Swamp meets the salt water of the Atlantic. The waves' dynamics move the sediment of the area and results in the spit which is the main geomorphic feature protecting the swamp from saltwater intrusion.


FACTS ABOUT THE CARIBBEAN SEA The Caribbean Sea blankets an area of 1,063,000 sq. miles. It covers the entire marine region from Mexico to the boundaries of South America

In 2008, the UN officially recognized June 8th as World Oceans Day! The ocean is the large body of salt water that covers the majority (approximately 70%) of the earth’s surface. Planet Earth, often referred to as the “Blue Planet”, is the only one in the solar system with such an abundance of liquid water. Earth has one ocean with several ocean basins (North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Indian Southern and Arctic). The ocean is important as it is a habitat for a vast array of species, provides oxygen (via phytoplankton) and influences weather and climate. Humans depend upon the ocean for goods such as food and minerals and utilize it for activities such as transportation, recreation and energy generation. Despite its importance, some key issues affecting the world’s ocean include marine pollution, overfishing, marine invasive species, ocean acidification and rising temperatures. Some people use the term “ocean” and “sea” interchangeably. However seas are smaller bodies of water which are partially enclosed by land. Just to note the Caribbean Sea is the second largest sea in the world!!!

The Caribbean Sea hosts some of the most unique floral and coral species in the world! It is also home to some of the most uncommon aquatic species that are almost exclusive to the region. In the Caribbean Sea you will find sea horses, whales, dolphins, sharks, sea anemones and octopus to name a tiny few

Not only is it wide, the Caribbean Sea measures up on depth. This ups the notch on the fascinating quotient, as its deepest point is considered to be 25,220 ft, making it one of the deepest seas and one of the lowest points on the earth's surface.

The Caribbean Sea floor is home to two oceanic trenches: the Hispaniola Trench and the Puerto Rico Trench. This puts the area at great risk of serious 17 earthquakes.



Daryll Griffith & Odessa Fortune

National Advisor - Marketing & Communications

THE MEMBER OF THE QUARTER IS CYEN-TT'S M.V.P. FOR THE QUARTER. This member was chosen based on attendance at general meetings, participation at events, presence on social media in terms of promoting CYEN and the environment as well as commitment in CYEN activities. We are proud to announce Ms. Farzaana Baksh as the Member of the Quarter AprilJune 2013!

Carver Bacchus, the Founder and President of Sustainable Living T & T better known as Sustain T&T. Sustain T&T is dedicated to education, information exchange and community building around the idea of Sustainable Living, Development and Industry. If you don’t know about them maybe you know about the Green Screen Film Series that they have hosted for the past two years. This year they have launched their “A Sea Change Carver is now one of our National Coordinators.

Congratulations! 18

Say hello to Zoi, the Howler Monkey. Zoi lives in the El Socorro Wildlife Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation in Freeport, Trinidad. Photo by Rianna Gonzales




In July 2013, the CYEN-TT executive team took a trip to Tobago for a strategic planning meeting with Tobago representatives Che Dillion and Stephan Issac. On the second day of this two day adventure, we took to the popular beach - Store Bay - to conduct research as to what the major environmental issues are in Tobago. Interviews were done with beachgoers and here are a few that stood out to us The corals are not as colourful as they used to be. There is nothing that is vibrant about it anymore

The environment is important, without is we cyah (can't) live.

What I am most passionate about is the slaying of the turtles. Those small creatures ain't do nobody nothing. They are just trying to live, just like we

All we have to do is 1. be mindful of our environment 2. respect the marine life and just do what God put us on the Earth to do

We need to advertise the laws and enforce them.

I believe if everyone play their part and really check for the earth we can have a nice place because Trinidad and Tobago is blessed.

The youth will be the recipients of all the (environmental) problems.

There needs to be serious education campaigning to show people that the actions they partake in have serious consequences.


INTERVIEW WITH CARVER BACCHUS Your background is in marketing and publications, what led you to form the NGO Sustain T&T? Initially, Sustain T&T was an idea that came out of the marketing agency I work for, Pop! Creative Services. We were just starting up and wanted to develop a project that would give us a chance to show our capabilities (event management, design, public relations and social media management) and at the same time promote our social responsibility position. Environmental and Economic Sustainability are very important to me, and we felt there was a gap in opportunities for education, training and networking in that area, so Sustain T&T was born. In 2010 we offered workshops, a business seminar and a film screening under the brand and eventually registered the name as its own entity.

Sustain T&T has been in existence since 2010, what has been your greatest challenge as well as your biggest success?

The Green Screen Series started in 2011, what do you hope to achieve from this events? And would you continue?

Our biggest challenge turned out to be our biggest success. Our first foray into the sector was good and we got feedback that the events should continue. People were looking for more opportunities to meet like-minded people, exchange ideas and learn more about environmental challenges and solutions. We had to come up with something that would capture people’s imagination and be a sustainable project with a focus on information sharing. It took a few months to figure out but we eventually decided that there was enough room in this market for another annual film festival event. This is when our marquis event – Green Screen, The Environmental Film Series, was born. 2013 will mark three years of this series and the number of people in the audience has been building steadily along with the quality of presentations and discussions. We’re proud to bring this project to the public every year.

We hope to educate the general public about environmental and sustainability issues through entertainment (film). We also wish to encourage communities and individuals to produce their own content pertaining to environmental issues. If it’s good, we’ll show it. Green Screen is fast becoming an institution so it’s not a matter of if we will continue or not. We have to.

Managing an NGO must take up a lot of your time, how do you find the balance? I don’t think I’ve mastered the balance yet.

What would you say is one of the most challenging issues in the environment? Many people in Trinidad don’t understand environmental issues. They don’t fully comprehend how interconnected all our activities on these small islands are or how poor environmental management can affect their health or their future capacity to earn a living. Basic environmental literacy for all citizens is becoming a critical component toward our national development.

What advice would you give to young people who are searching for ways to make a change? Just get out and do it. Get involved in something that you are passionate about. Everyone has a skill or enjoys doing something. If you’re good at photography, for example, or meeting new people, offer your skills to an organization that may have a need. NGO’’s ALWAYS need help. Volunteer and become someone that can be depended on, no matter how small your contribution. You’ll be surprised how far reliability will carry you.

You have recently become a National Advisor (marketing and communications) for CYEN-TT, what are your expectations? Before I establish expectations I hope to be able to learn from the current executive and membership about the challenges and hopes for the coming year. Once I’m able to get a handle on where my advice can be best utilized I expect that I’ll be able to contribute effectively.


Tell us a little about the documentary “A Sea Change”, which had its first screening at the GEF SGP Knowledge Fair on World Environment Day. What inspired you to do this film? “A Sea Change” is a short documentary about issues of Climate Change affecting communities in Trinidad. Climate Change is really the “elephant in the room” for small island developing states like Trinidad and Tobago so it is high time we begin to evaluate how it is affecting our country. Again, most folks don’t know much about it, even though they may be noticing phenomena caused by climate change. We need to have a plan if we are to adapt to changing patterns in the future. The film was a natural progression from the film series as we wanted to produce a high quality piece about a pressing contemporary environmental issue. With tremendous support from the UNDP’s Global Environment Fund we were able to make this a reality.

This was a SUPER idea!!!

NGOs are oftentimes overlooked as being a force of change in Trinidad and Tobago's society. What do you think about that? How do you think this mindset can be altered? I think civil society including NGO’s, CBO’s and Community groups, can make the difference in our society. We are usually the people working in communities and seeing the realities first hand. We are the ones who can influence positive behaviour change at the community level. Many local NGO’s are often the “area expert” in their sector and the public sits up and listens when they speak. The government sometimes takes council from NGO’s in areas critical to development. What we need is a coordinated lobby with clear objectives that everybody can get behind, for the greater good. A lot of NGO activity is either fragmented or duplicated. A bit more coordination can go a long way toward making real progress.


The activist is not the man that says the river is dirty; the activist is the man that cleans up the river. 24

Ross Perdot

The Arima River, is the river chosen by CYEN-TT.

General Secretary to CYEN-TT, Sharlene Subit accepting a token of acknowledgement of the commitment that CYEN TT has towards the implementation of a project under the Adopt A river Programme from the Minister of the Environment and Water Resources the Honourable Mr. Ganga Singh

This project is an initiative of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) that will facilitate the monitoring, clean-up and enhancement of rivers in Trinidad and Tobago by developing community networks that encourages active participation in the protection of the watersheds by educating residents and businesses with hands-on restoration activities. The overall objective of the ‘Adopt a River’ program is to bring awareness to local watershed issues and to facilitate the participation of public and private sector entities in sustainable and holistic projects aimed at improving the status of rivers and their watersheds in Trinidad and Tobago. The time frame for this project is one year and CYEN-TT looks forward to sharing with you in the upcoming publication further details concerning our engagement in this project. We're excited! If you would like to become a part of Adopt-A-River through CYEN-TT feel free to contact us at


CYEN-TT was nominated at the National Youth Awards under the category of Volunteerism in the Community. Thank you to the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development.

Channan Patrick ( Project coordinator CYENTT) contributes at the Adopt-A-River workshop and stakeholders' analysis.

Shamila Ragoobir, a CYENTT member is interviewed by Fritz Burgher from the North Western University in Chicago. Fritz Burgher and Mark Odale were guests at our general meeting in July where they interviewed our members to get an idea of the environmental movement in Trinidad and Tobago 26

The Caribbean Network for Integrated Rural Development (CNIRD) is the local "mother" NGO to CYEN-TT. CNIRD, the National Planning Committee (NPC) for International Coastal Clean-Up (ICC) in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources held the certificate ceremony & launch of ICC 2013. On September 21st CYEN-TT joins a host of NGOs, Corporate groups and Schools all over Trinidad to partake in the International Coastal Cleanup 2013—the world's largest volunteer effort to clean up waterways and the ocean. To top left: CNIRD Directr Ms. Marissa Mohammed(middle) and four CYEN-TT interns at CNIRD Bottom left: CNIRD members who volunteered at the launch - Anya, Kristen, Dizzanne and Rohini (left to right)




During the July-August vacation, CYEN-TT teamed up with a local camp run by "D" Kids' Early Learning Academy in Tunapuna for a day of fun and education. CYEN-TT members spent the day teaching the children ( 2-10 years) about the importance of proper waste disposal and this was followed with an evening session of upcycling.


Can you think of ways these "waste" materials can be used to create new, totally functional items? Look at what they became below.


Above: Piggy banks made out of the styrofoam cups we used that day for drinking and a car made out of a cardboard box, equipped with plastic plate wheels and all. Below: CYEN-TT volunteers all smiles


Buccoo Bay - Tobago Photo - Daryll Griffith This narrow, long stretch is predominantly a fishing beach and is the center of the action for the traditional Goat and Crab Races at Easter time


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ECO Life Issue No. 2 (April-August 2013)  
ECO Life Issue No. 2 (April-August 2013)  

ECO Life is a magazine published by Caribbean Youth Environment Network- Trinidad and Tobgao. It focuses on youth advocacy in the field of e...