The climate crisis affects everyone, and we must all do our part to find solutions to current and impending climate challenges.
Global entrepreneurs are leading the charge in creating solutions that impact their communities and inspire others to do the same on the path toward a greener future.
As part of our YLAI Goes Green campaign, we asked YLAI alumni to expand on their creative solutions to the impacts of climate change and advise others wanting to enter the green economy. We’re excited to highlight 2021 YLAI Fellowship alum Refica Attwood, from Antigua and Barbuda.
Refica Attwood is executive director of Wallings Nature Reserve Inc., Antigua and Barbuda’s first community-managed national park. She is also the Local Community Environment Champion for 2020 for Antigua and Barbuda, the National Youth Awardee for Antigua and Barbuda in Tourism for Tourism Services 2021, and the Entrepreneur World Cup National Champion for 2021 for Antigua and Barbuda. Refica received the Commonwealth Points of Light Award from Her Majesty the Queen in May 2022.
The YLAI Fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. government.
What climate change issue are you passionate about addressing with your business?
With Wallings Nature Reserve Inc., I have been passionate about addressing the issue of wildfires and the damage those fires cause to the forests in Antigua and Barbuda. My team and I have worked on deforestation issues and started a program for invasive species management.
What solution have you created with your business? In your own words, what impact does your solution have on the climate crisis?
Wallings Nature Reserve Inc. manages a section of the island that plays a vital role in freshwater distribution and controls the issue of trash. The water from this area leads directly to the sea. The Signal Hill Reforestation project we spearheaded saw the removal of the invasive lemongrass and the area replanted with food and forest trees to replace 80% of the upland forest area.
The work at Signal Hill played a vital role in the surrounding areas, as the reforestation project prevented the forest area problems that had plagued the area for years, and we saw the work on the hill making a difference to the behavior on the sea.
What advice do you have for others looking to make a change and address climate solutions with their business or within their community?
My advice to anyone wanting to address climate change is to start. I only wanted to address one issue but made such a huge impact that I was featured in multiple documentaries and PSAs, and featured locally, regionally and internationally. I am someone universities write about! Do not be afraid to start. You have no idea how far your impact will travel.
Thank you, Refica! Head over to YLAI Goes Green to learn more about how you can make your business more sustainable and get inspiration from other entrepreneurs finding unique climate solutions for their communities.
The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author or interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of the YLAI Network or the U.S. government.