Estefania McDermot, one of Cayman’s young leaders in the local fight against ocean plastic pollution, will be taking part in live panel focused on ocean health, on Friday, June 12th at 2-3pm Eastern to mark World Oceans Day, on 8 June. The UN’s World Oceans Day, which has a theme this year of “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” both existing and emerging environmental youth activists, parents, and educators are being invited to attend this first-ever Ocean Heroes Youth Innovation panel. The online event is free, open to public participation, and designed to be a friendly and open discussion about creating meaningful campaigns to keep plastic out of the ocean.
The goal of the panel is to create excitement and drive applications for the upcoming Virtual Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, an annual youth program designed to empower existing and emerging youth leaders, ages 11 to 18, to create their own campaigns to take action against ocean plastic pollution. The virtual Ocean Heroes Bootcamp is taking place from June 26-July 1, and is free. Ocean Heroes Bootcamp is developed for youth, by youth, incorporating feedback from the participants at every stage. The program has supported more than 1000 youth-led campaigns since its inception in 2018 with the goal of supporting 10,000 campaigns by 2025.
Ocean Heroes from around the world have developed innovative and entrepreneurial approaches — as well as policy and behavior-change campaigns — to tackle plastic pollution. Each Ocean Hero panelist will describe their campaign or initiative, what inspired their innovative ideas, and how youth can be important catalysts for change in this movement. They will share insight into the planning process and learning involved in building a new business, program, or campaign.
Ms McDermot is an environmental conservationist from the Cayman Islands. She sits on the Cayman Islands Single-Use Plastics Steering Committee and volunteers with Plastic Free Cayman. She's also an active alumnus for the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp and recipient of the Captain Planet Foundation's Youth Planter of the Year Award 2018. She has been inspired by the stories of other young Boot Camp activists and has led a local campaign to reduce and eliminate single-use plastics. The young people share their experiences of leading environmental campaigns, and so provide practical guidance to one another.
The panel on June 5 will be accompanied by a live Zoom Question and Answer session. Panelists will include Youth environmental activists Linnea Goh, age 18, from North Vancouver, BC, who is the Co-Lead of Precious Plastics; Seyi Peace Moejoh, age 19, from Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria, who is the Co-Founder of U-Recycle Initiative; Estefania McDermot (Steff), age 19, from the Cayman Islands, environmental conservationist currently serving as the Caribbean Coordinate for Sail for Climate Action.
Many different animals, including Cayman’s beloved green sea turtles and hawksbills, ingest pieces of floating plastic in the water, often mistaking them for food such as jellyfish. The plastic blocks their intestine, causing a slow death by starvation. Sea birds suffer in a similar way, and so do fishes, and when the plastic breaks down into smaller pieces, it becomes dangerous to the millions of baby fish who again mistake it for food.