Luis Serpas, who spearheads environmentalist collective Eco Warriors currently studies Marine Biology at the TCI Community College. He was most recently elected as Vice President of the TCI Community college. Luis’ eco journey began in fourth form when he attended a conference at Amanyara Resort. This introduced him to concepts such as carbon foot-printing, pollution and climate change. Shortly after, the original Eco Warriors began, consisting of students attending other schools and hosted cleaning initiatives nationwide.
Luis told WAVES over Zoom that he later decided to revitalise the group for a Community service project. “I reached out to Miss Roxanne [Director of the Edward Gartland Youth Centre]. I pitched the idea she was happy she was excited and I said I wanted to have this as a platform to educate the future of the Earth about what’s going on now, and what we can do to cut the problem. ‘Cause I was gonna just talk about the problem but then I started thinking about solutions.”
And they didn’t do it all alone. “We had some amazing people come in to talk. Tito Seymour who is a local vendor. I had him come in to talk because he does recycling with tires and different things like that and show the students you know what they can do at home because he would recycle tires and make chairs and flower pots and stuff like that.”
But how did the Eco Warriors develop?
“I think around that time I started working with Jeffrey Nicolas with cleanups. And then when I joined Rotaract, that’s when we started doing a lot more, I was always his right hand. I was always there to help get the word out and help get other young people there. So recently I think the biggest project that we’ve done happened, even though this was more of an Interact project, but it was still a project that I had worked on and I had some great support from the Youth Department. Hon. Rachel Taylor Oliver, Jasmine Thomas, they helped me organize a clean up with schools H.J. Robinson, Raymond Gardner and Long Bay High School from around the islands. I think more things like that will help push the education aspect from it [climate change].”
The campaign dubbed a success by TCIG, released the exact amount of garbage collected: H.J. Robinson High collected 70 bags, Raymond Gardiner High collected 63 bags and Louise Garland High collected 23 bags.
So what next for Luis Serpas?
Currently the Eco Warriors have been inactive as Luis is currently residing in Grand Turk to pursue his studies. However, he hopes to reintroduce the group soon in Provo and Grand Turk. This task is challenging due to the back and forth travel required to meet with the Youth department. In the end the ‘slow’ process will help to “Push for this education to be spread on the island.
His hopes are to introduce initiatives such as the Eco Warriors on a ‘bigger scale’.
As well as introducing things like ‘having talks at schools to bring awareness’ a program he says wouldn’t be possible at the current scale ‘because I can’t have like more than 100 kids, [at the Youth Centre] you know?’.
He added that working with schools such as Clement Howell and British Collegiate to “bring awareness – to events like COP26. You know things like that so that the students could see it.”
“We won’t have an earth to live on if we don’t work together like now”
The COP26 Global Summit saw world leaders come together to set goals such as achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. He shared that he believes its achievable if everyone works together.
“I think we can achieve it if we follow the right path and follow. A lot of them were talking about the technological advancements that we could work on to stop the addiction to fossil fuels, right? But then there’s also the aspect of nations that rely on fossil fuels, and they might not be able to start. They might get side-tracked and continue to use fossil fuels for their personal gain. So I think it’s possible if everybody works together as a team. Which might be a little hard, but it would be possible if all the leaders get together. They put everything aside. And say, hey? We won’t have an earth to live on if we don’t work together like now. So it could happen. I believe it could happen.”
The TCI is known best for its crystal clear waters and pristine sandy beaches, but it is not exempt from the ecological hazards present in the wider world. That is why we at WAVES are proud to introduce our #CLEANBYCHOICE series to highlight the movers and shakers that have been keeping TCI Beautiful by Nature.