A keen interest in ocean conservation landed Montserrat’s Ashneil Jeffers a place onboard the Peace Boat in June. This global NGO (non-government organization) headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, conducts voyages aboard its cruise ship-like Ocean Dream to promote topics such as environmental protection. Jeffers, who majored in Computer Science and Information Technology at the Montserrat Community College and has volunteered for many years with ocean NGO’s on island such as AQUA Montserrat, was one of several young leaders from the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and Caribbean to partake on the third edition of the Peace Boat’s Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors Program, May 24 to June 8. The Montserrat native, and other youths onboard, were able to improve their environmental advocacy skills through meeting government representatives and other global leaders such as Fabien Cousteau, and speak at public events organized in Spain, Morocco and Portugal. The program concluded in New York where the Peace Boat docked in Manhattan to participate in the official United Nations event for World Oceans Day.
“With the wealth of knowledge and unlimited drive I’ve obtained, I will be using this knowledge of the oceans to further urge our governments and people to act now to prepare for what will happen in the future with climate change. It will not be easy for any of our islands in the Caribbean, and we must prepare to defend ourselves. I also plan to work on my own personal initiatives as well as working with the environmentally focused NGOs of Montserrat informing them of new opportunities I’ve found as well as contacts I’ve made,” says Jeffers.
The Government of Montserrat, Waitt Institute and Blue Halo Initiative funded Jeffers’s participation in the Peace Boat program. www.peaceboat.org