Student activists make it clear they are not stooges

| 05/06/2019 | 56 Comments
Cayman News Service

Jack Paolini, Olivia Zimmer and  Makayla Coran
(courtesy of Crosstalk, click to enlarge)

(CNS): Some of the young Caymanian students leading the Protect Our Future campaign here in the Cayman Islands have made it clear that they are driving the activism against an array of environmental threats to these islands and they are not stooges of any adults, as has been suggested. From demanding government introduce a ban on single-use plastics to calling for more action to curb damaging coastal development, a growing number of teenagers, and even younger students, are now focused on the climate crisis and they refuse to stay quiet.

Appearing on Crosstalk, Rooster’s morning radio talkshow, Richard Weber, Jack Paolini, Olivia Zimmer and Makayla Coran all made it clear that they are all motivated by threats to the planet, inspired by the Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, and while their parents are proud of them, they are not the ones driving their activism and the young people are not being used as tools.

“From the deepest part of our hearts we are passionate about protecting the environment,” said 16-year-old Coran. Responding to allegations that they are being used by the anti-port lobby, she said she had never been referred to as a tool before. The young people were clear that they are driven by the crisis, not politics or the campaigners for the referendum.

Demonstrating a much greater understanding of the need to address climate change and the steps to take than the politicians, the young people said they are motivated by the simple desire to turn things around before it is too late.

Cayman News Service

Richard Weber
(courtesy of Crosstalk)

They said they are opposed to the development of the cruise port project, not because some adults are telling them to be but because, as Zimmer stated, they can see how damaging it will be to the environment, the cultural heritage and the actual tourism product.

Paolini pointed out that the Protect Our Future campaign was attracting more local young people to the cause and there were now more teenagers caring about the country than those in government.

Weber warned the politicians that their voices will be heard and if they don’t listen, the students now involved in the campaign will “hold their feet to the fire”. He said they can’t isolate themselves from the concerns young people have, and they demand that the government understands that there needs to be change. He urged people to hold their politicians accountable and to demand they do something.

Weber also raised concerns about the National Conservation Law review and revealed that the ministry was stonewalling his efforts to get the minutes of the first meeting through a freedom of information request.

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Category: Land Habitat, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (56)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s good these kids are “woke”. Now go out into the world with no money and scratch out a living for about 10 or 15 years and maybe we will have a little more time for your ideas.

  2. Anonymous says:

    For the kids, and folks in general.
    A huge economic engine for your island funds itself by producing a very bad product for the environment. Go around the world and pick up a piece of white trash (ironic, I know) and there’s a good chance it will have the name of the guy that owns your island proudly embossed on the bottom. It’s your legacy to deal with. It can be dealt with, but odds are the adults on the island are too scared to do it. Kids?

  3. Dan says:

    2021 will see a change leading up to 2025 which is going to see the real newspaper batch of new young Caymanians voting. For those that is 16-17 yrs old will certainly be the game changer in the next election. Watch this space!

  4. Ron Ebanks says:

    I believe that some people don’t understand what it means to have a good clean and beautiful environment.

  5. Anonymous says:

    These kids, and the other campaigners against the port, need to explain what the many Caymanians employed in jobs directly or indirectly related to cruise tourism will do if that industry declines.

    If there is one trend Cayman is following from global politics, it is those with privilege telling others they need to sacrifice for the greater good. Easy to take that position when you are a while collar worker with the best education and opportunities because you have no skin in the game.

    These kids, and everyone else campaigning so vociferously to protect a relatively small section of our environment, must explain what exactly they will be sacrificing if they get their way, and how the less well off among us will benefit by risking their livelihoods to oppose the port development.

    It’s very easy to say the environment trumps the economy when you’re not affected by the part of the economy you’re willing to sacrifice.

    The reality is that every house, office building, hotel, school or road requires environmental sacrifice. If no environmental sacrifice is worth any amount of economic gain, we should destroy all the roads and office buildings and return them to their natural state.

    Oh, that would be an inconvenience to you? That would put your job at risk? Your way of life? So I guess the environment doesn’t ALWAYS trump the economy or anything else.

    What it always trumps is someone else’s well-being.

    • Anonymous says:

      12:43 pm- doing nothing about climate change and the environment WILL indeed affect your well-being! These kids are trying to make our world a better place to live in, and the port will actually destroy tons of acres of marine life… last time I checked, marine life is the reason why so many tourists come here- to dive in the beautiful waters! So no, it’s not a inconvenience to say no to single use plastic and bring our own bags to the grocery store, and no, it’s not an inconvenience to drop off recyclable materials at the depots. It’s something we do to be environmentally responsible for future generations!

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry, but climate change and the environment are two different things but nice try.

        The comment said nothing about using less plastic or contributing less to climate change. It was about whether the environmental concerns trump the economic ones.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please, spare us the speeches from 2004. Cruise tourism doesn’t go anywhere else – we are the poster-child and jewel in every Western Caribbean Itinerary. Cuba is closed for the foreseeable. For the next 10 years we hold all the cards for this leg of the Western Caribbean, not the liners (who, btw, aren’t making the boats we profess to want to accommodate). We need leaders that understand where we are on the map, and what a cruise loop looks like. The pristine dive environment and marine biodiversity for scuba-diving business people is what ushered-in 50 years of growth in the Cayman Islands. We need people that can swim with a mask, understand what’s down there, and know enough to want to protect it, for the unadulterated commercial value it holds, and for the environmental legacy we hope to leave for our great great grand children.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t understand what you don’t understand. If the port goes through, tourists have nothing to visit in the Cayman Islands and all of you will be out of a job because no tourists will want to visit an overpriced country with nothing to see.

      So these anti port people and the ‘children’ are trying to save your jobs by keeping the very things alive that tourists come to visit.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The three on air might not be stooges, but the dozens of other younger kids were. I know because I was told my child was going to petition for no single use plastics, just to end up posted behind someone holding a no port sign. Absolute abuse of these kids trust, this was portrayed as an anti port deal and posted all over the town hall meeting on the referendum.

  7. Anonymous says:

    For the kids, and folks in general.
    A huge economic engine for your island funds itself by producing a very bad product for the environment. Go around the world and pick up a piece of white trash (ironic, I know) and there’s a good chance it will have the name of the guy that owns your island proudly embossed on the bottom. It’s your legacy to deal with. It can be dealt with, but odds are the adults on the island are too scared to do it. Kids?

  8. Ron Ebanks says:

    I guess that all these politicians are seeing what change is all about , and their $25 .00 and washing machine here and there days are over for them .

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry, holding up signs making demands of OTHER PEOPLE, won’t fix the climate, the reefs, the oceans and the turtles. Not one less piece of garbage will be in Cayman waters, 99.999999 percent of which washes up from other countries.

    Learn to ACHIEVE and DO for yourselves, not gain cheap moral superiority by parroting liberal talking points and actions.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “If you’re not a liberal in your youth you have no heart. If not a conservative at mid age you have no head” They will grow as we all have. In the 1970’s climate change was bringing on a new ice age.

    • Anonymous says:

      “as we all have”. Ha. I haven’t, and I’ll bet my retirement fund that the scientist are right and you and your ilk are wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was conservative until I grew up and realised the damage they do to people, places and things. Liberal all the way and my conscience is feeling great now that I’m on the right side of history always.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian my foot.Just because they attend school in Cayman doesn’t make them Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep. As usual we allow outside influences

      • Anonymous says:

        6:40 am- what’s wrong with you? Allowing “outside influence” when it comes to promoting change for the environment should not be looked at in a negative light! Caymanian children can feel the same way, and why would you assume they’re not Caymanian? Too white for you? Your comment shows your ignorance. We should be applauding these kids and welcoming their suggestions, instead of trying to toss them out!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t like it, blame Mac and Alden, not these kids who ARE CAYMANIAN!

    • Anonymous says:

      I am so disgusted with your comments. What makes them non-Caymanians? Is it because the have white skin and speak intelligently? Is it because they don’t have last names like Bodden or Ebanks? Why be so mean spirited? this is why the “us” and them mentality will continue.

      These kids have done something that We “grown Caymanians” never did in our youth or even in our later years and that is to take a stand and speak their own minds.

      Whether we choose to approve or disapprove what they have to say, we should act like adults and show some respect and tolerance. I listened to this entire conversation and these kids were articulate, well researched, and most of all respectful..

      I am proud of everyone of them! We could take a page out of their books..

    • Anon says:

      I would guess they are not born Caymanians, if they were they would not give a hoot for the environment based on parental influence.

      • Anonymous says:

        9.24am There you go againsjowing your disdain for Birn Caymanians who make it possible for you to make very good livelihood and raise your kids in a better environmentthan you left behind.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cuz Caymanians don’t attend school? Not sure what you’re saying, bobo

    • Anonymous says:

      soooo what, 2:18 am? Caymanian born or not, these kids live here and care about the lack of progress that is being made by our slack gov’t!!! We all owe it to our kids to take action here, and to support their ambitions to make change. Stop hatin’!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Everywhere else in the world, governments are encouraging conservation of our natural resources. Our Cayman Islands Government is doing the opposite. I ask why? Disappointed and actually ashamed of our government. Proud of these children. This country is yours to take over as the next generation, so stand firm and place your stake in the ground and demand answers as to the reasons of destroying the envorinment.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Politicians should know that the new generation are not “sheeple”.

    Politicians will not be successful trying to ram ideas down our throats.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic to see these young (“pre-voters”) seeking to participate in our democracy.

    Railroading, lambasting, ignoring, victimizing and avoiding inconvenient trusts is simply not acceptable and will not work.

  15. Patricia Bryan says:

    Encouraging bravery. Our upcoming generations must grow with the changing times and be encouraged to stand up peacefully yet strongly for what they believe in, and what will better their islands moving ahead with their growth.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is nothing brave about protesting and have everyone and media outlets telling them how courageous and they are whilst accomplishing nothing of substance.

      You are teaching them to become a victim class. Typical liberalism.

  16. OneVoice says:

    It is well time that our young people stand up and be heard. from the youngest to pre-teens after all they are the ones that will be impacted by the bad decision made by todays adults in power. I just don’t understand why our representatives don’t wish to listen to the majority, rather than just the few money people? well I just answered myself there. They only come around every four years begging for you vote. I can tell you this one thing . I am finish with the PPM/UDP/PMP or any other acronym, they want to call themselves. I will vote for the individual that I think best for the Island and not just my district. Wake up people. It time.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The old strategy of buying votes through washing machines will soon die away. The more younger generation registered voters, the faster these old fossils called politicians who are very obviously corrupt will be ousted.

    The younger generation are forward thinkers and do their own research rather than listen to some person that says it’s so whether it is so or not.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t count on it, those old fossils have children who will continue the same…

      • Anonymous says:

        Those old fossils aren’t the majority. With all the status grants and the permanent residents turned Caymanians, those fossils and their children are the minority.

        • Anonymous says:

          Its not a numbers game, its about who is in power NOW and how they use their current powers to retain it -nothing changes…back to work.

          • Anonymous says:

            Of course it is a numbers game. If enough youngsters register to vote and a new set of individuals decide to run against the fossils, we will see a new Cayman.

            But yes in the meantime, unless the current set of voters try for an early election or petition for all politicians to be investigated for corruption we are stuck with these career politicians.

            • Anonymous says:

              “politics” and “business Interests” will always be in bed together and they will always make each other rich at the expense of the populous. Enough youngsters will be brainwashed by those interests by the time they can vote for any meaningful change to occur.

              Your best bet is too eliminate politicians since they are an archaic way to represent the interest of the people, and directly deal with the business themselves. Make the politicians follow your lead as they obviously can’t lead themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, they’ll be buying them Ipads and Iphones instead. Oops, hope McBurger and Dalton aren’t reading my comment – don’t want to give them any ideas.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Stand up and speak up my children.

  19. Ron Ebanks says:

    The Children are not stooges, the ones that are calling them stooges are the stooges . The kids are smarter because they are seeing in the future, but the adults who are criticizeing them are the ones that are dumb and can’t see in the future . ..

    • Anonymous says:

      Go, children go, i am proud of them. Just wondering if they are Caymanian, does not matter, just wondering.

      • Anonymous says:

        Calling them ‘children’ is patronizing. Thank you for explaining the definition perfectly.
        None of the teens that were there were ‘children’.

        • Anonymous says:

          Dey somebody chile, dahlin’.

        • Anonymous says:

          It is great to see young people getting involved in our community.
          However, asking government to ban consumer products is a slippery slope. There will always be some group that wants something banned because they feel it is bad. Where would it stop. Be careful of pandora box.
          Better to take your argument to the public and change the minds and attitude of the consumer.
          Additionally, there are more pressing humanitarian issues in need of government’s attention such as children going hungry and being abused. Would be great to see these young adults take up those causes

  20. Anonymous says:

    Well done. You are the future. We all need to fight to save the environment. We also need to ban all non toxic sunscreen from all 3 islands

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