Donneil Cain, Resource Economist at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs), delivered a well-received Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Talk on behalf of Executive Director Dr. Kenrick Leslie, CBE at this week’s staging of the Belize-leg of the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge (SVC).
The Challenge is a partnership between the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), Sagicor and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) that seeks to encourage secondary school students across the region to identify challenges facing their respective schools or communities and develop effective, innovative and sustainable STEM-based solutions.
Bishop Martin High won the contest outpacing 21 other teams from 16 schools. Their project dubbed ‘Coconuts for Life’ is a 20 year multi-pronged plan that includes growing a coconut orchard and creating an ecological park on the school grounds. Yorker Ecological Educational Park for Belizean Biodiversity by Edward P. Yorke High School placed second. Peruse these and other projects here.
Mr. Cain challenged the students to go beyond the competition and become pioneers in their respective fields. “I beg you to dream big and no matter how old you get, continue to dream big. Beyond dreaming, think critically and be creative. Look around you for issues that must be solved and in doing so you will aid your communities to become sustainable.” In other words, “it is your duty to help chart the way for the efficient uses of our limited resources to meet our needs, while preserving our natural environment,” said Mr. Cain.
He urged educators to do more to enable the region’s young people to unlock their inventive and critical thinking skills to thrive. He also called for new approaches ‘to harness the talents and the ingeniousness of our youths […] and encourage critical, logical and creative thinking.”
Mr. Cain encouraged the budding innovators to consider STEM career options. He cited computer science , chemistry, civil engineering, mathematics, astrophysics, information science, robotics, statistics, architecture, bio-chemistry, electronics as some examples.
Four of the Challenge’s eleven judges are members of the 5Cs team: Ottis Joslyn, Earl Green, Tyrone Hall and Sharon Lindo. Here are some examples of how we have used STEM in climate change adaptation efforts:
- Retrofitting a Community Centre – St. Lucia
- Climate Modeling – Regional
- CO2 Measurement – Regional and Global
- Desalination (SWRO plants) – St. Lucia, Grenada, Caye Caulker
- Renewable Energy – Bio-Mass, Solar, Hydro, Wind – Regional
- Econometric Modeling – Regional
- Hazard mapping – Regional
Learn more about the Sagicor Visionaries Challenge. See how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan for “Delivering transformational change 2011-21″.
UPDATE: Bishop Martin High School won the top prize in the regional science and technology competition, beating 11 other schools to claim a prize of US$5, 000. Second place went to Jamaica’s Wolmer’s Boys School for their project ‘Electro-light, Making Your Electricity Bill Lighter’. They won US$3 000, while third was Naparima Girls College in Trinidad and Tobago, whose project ‘So What Is The Farmer In Your Neighbourhood’ gained them US$1 000.