Sometimes change looks small... as small as a bee perhaps. As small and insignificant as they may seem, bees are responsible for a third of our global food supply, through their essential function as pollinators.
Our partner organization, the Ya’axché Conservation Trust in Belize, researches and preserves the 44 native bee species in the Maya Golden Landscape- 275,000 hectares of biodiverse land that plays an important role in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. Ya’axché seeks to educate the public on the important role bees play in preserving ecological diversity.
Ya’axché partnered with Creative Action Institute this year to educate and empower youth to join their effort in advocating for bees and protecting the environment. While many often overlook youth as serious actors in social change, we believe that it is often those who are marginalized and most affected by climate change who have the most to offer towards solution creation.
During this Creative Action Practicum, 50 youth participated in a 6-day summer camp. During the camp, the youth visited local agroforestry farms and sustainable businesses; took part in a tree planting day; and learned to orient themselves in the rainforest.
Using a participatory and art-based methodology, participants transformed former beliefs, gained new understanding of the environmental importance of bees, analyzed the root causes of the current threats to bee conservation, and came up with actions to combat it.
The youth conveyed their final ideas by painting a series of creative signs to display in local communities to raise awareness of bee conservation.
We chose to do this sign because we want everybody to believe in the bee. They play a very important role in our lives; they produce honey and other supplies. -Cynthia, youth participant
The paintings were presented in a community event that created a platform for dialogue and exchange between youth, local beekeepers, and community members. To close the event, both youth and local beekeepers made a final public commitment to maintain the environment to preserve native bees’ diversity and avoid using agro chemicals.