Student advocacy group Protect Our Future’s latest video campaign is focussing on preserving and highlighting Little Cayman as a Mission Blue ‘Hope Spot’.
‘Hope Spots’ are locations that are scientifically identified by ocean conservation organisation Mission Blue as critical to the health of the ocean, which should be preserved for future generations.
“One year ago, Little Cayman received the distinct honor of becoming a global ‘Hope Spot’ because of the high abundance of threatened and endemic species found there. It is also one of the last remaining spawning sites for the endangered Nassau grouper. Additionally, sea turtles nest by the hundreds on Little Cayman’s beaches every year, and the coast is abundant with marine life, including seven species of sharks,” Protect Our Future said in a press release outlining its campaign.
POF member Amber Ebanks developed the slogan of the campaign – ‘Listen to Little and Learn from Grand. Our Actions Decide Our Future!’, which the group says showcases the importance of the wisdom housed in the local youth and elders – wisdom that is often lost or ignored.
“Parallel to this, the students encourage us all to learn from the mistakes of Grand Cayman as the health of our ecosystems decline and unsustainable development continues. Anyone who travels to Little Cayman can ‘listen to its nature’ and understand the value of protecting one of our world’s last untouched paradises. As Caymanians, we are fortunate to have it, but many take the island for granted,” the release stated.
Members of Protect Our Future made a fact-finding trip to Little Cayman to see for themselves what makes the island special and to highlight some of differences between the smaller of the Sister Islands and Grand Cayman. Among the differences between the two islands that they highlight in their videos are the health of the coral reef in Little Cayman and that island’s efforts to ensure the preservation of its mangroves.
However, they also encountered beaches littered with plastic debris, a common sight seen on both islands, and carried out clean-up efforts while they were there.
On their trip, POF leaders Chloe Bentick-Lalli, Thomas Dickens and Nicholas Corin spent hours interviewing residents, story boarding and editing video content in order to produce a high-quality social media campaign that looks at the importance of preserving the island’s natural beauty.
In its release, the group stated, “This is especially crucial as our islands face rapid and unchecked development projects, impeding climate change, and continued loss of biodiversity. This youth-initiated campaign aims to not only raise awareness but to challenge our government to take the necessary steps to protect the natural habitats of our islands.
“POF was especially pleased to see the government make modifications to the [Central Planning Authority] in order to create a more sustainable development plan. We would like to see similar steps towards sustainability in Cayman. This includes instituting a national plastic ban, more conservation efforts to protect the central mangrove wetlands, and more funding for reef preservation and research.
“As much of the world continues to battle the loss of biodiversity, our campaign encourages our leaders to ‘open their eyes’ to both what is happening and to what is possible.”