Recyclers get message out

A new band of eco-warriors will visit schools starting today to spread the recycling message to Cayman’s young people.

Global Green Caribbean is a new non-profit working at the community level to help Caymanians understand the reasons behind, and importance of protecting the environment.

‘The environment is truly a global issue, however to effect change on a global scale we must act locally,’ says co-founder Krista Patterson.

‘For Global Green Caribbean this means focusing on the issues facing the Cayman Islands and seeking answers that can be used throughout the entire Caribbean.’

GGC’s team of young Caymanians has its roots in the frustrations Ms Patterson, who runs a janitorial supplies business, encountered when trying to convince her clients to buy her company’s non-toxic cleaning chemicals.

‘People were very sceptical and didn’t seem to understand why it’s better to use chemicals that don’t harm the environment,’ she says.

She decided to do some research on environmental action programmes in the Caribbean, and was shocked with how few exist.

Determined to do something about it, Ms Patterson enlisted her business partner, Nevron Bradshaw, friend Janet James and niece Nathina Ebanks to come up with a plan.

‘I was happy to help out,’ says Ms James.

‘It’s really discouraging that we are killing ourselves by poisoning our environment and I realise we need to do something, and we need to do it now.’

Ms Patterson was able to forge some connections with other groups in the Caribbean to bounce some ideas off them.

‘Once I made contact with some people, it gave us a better understanding of what needs to be done before things really start happening,’ she says.

The answer, they discovered, lay in community outreach.

‘We are here to speak to our fellow Caymanians about the importance of the environment and, at the same time, to find out how people feel about it in their communities,’ says Ms James.

‘Our first project, which we already have the wheels in motion for, is to focus on implementing Island-wide recycling.’

They’re moving fast. Starting today, GGC members will visit St. Ignatius.

The team has a specially designed a colouring book that helps kids understand how recycling of waste occurs in nature, and the role humans need to play when it comes to man-made waste.

And to get kids more involved, the group is holding a logo design contest.

‘We don’t have one yet, and hopefully this will get kids thinking about what recycling and environmental protection means for Cayman,’ says Ms Patterson.

The group will also hold nightly community meetings starting 5 November in North Side, East End, Breakers, South Sound and West Bay to hear from residents about their own environmental concerns.

These meetings will lead up to a fundraising gala on 16 November where the group hopes to raise money to go toward purchasing a site for a recycling depot.

‘We are lucky that some organisations in the US have already offered their assistance in shipping and managing the recycled materials,’ says Ms James.

‘And, we already have buyers in more than one location who are eager to get this programme off the ground.’

With this much determination, it looks like these young Caymanians just might have charted a winning path to environmental success.