‘I’m happy that I won’ – Kiziah Soverall, CARICOM Energy Month competition winner

Kiziah Soverall
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Today, we continue our features on the winners of the CARICOM Energy Month competitions.

In 2017, the CARICOM Secretariat organised a Youth Essay Competition as part of its activities marking CARICOM Energy Month. The Secretariat’s Energy Unit invited young people in the Region to submit an essay about the need to advance the Region’s sustainable energy transition and their vision of how their country could support this move. The Secretariat’s objective was to involve the younger generation in energy-related issues and their fallout, promote awareness of clean energy solutions and give a voice to Caribbean youth regarding their dreams of their future in a changing world.

In this feature, we present the Secondary Education laureate of the senior section (corresponding to Forms 4-6 / Grade 10-13): Kiziah Soverall, of Bishop’s High School in Tobago. Like the other secondary education competitors, Ms. Soverall had to make her case while respecting a 700-word limit, a feat she accomplished worthily, despite only learning of the competition on the eve of its closing date!

As she acknowledges, both candidly and disarmingly, she almost ignored her inner voice telling her that she had nothing to lose and that she ought to at least try. Even so “it took me most of that night and part of the morning to organise the documents necessary [for it] and write the essay. There were a few times when I thought, ‘Why are you bothering to do this so late anyway?’ But something told me not to give up,” she explained.

Nevertheless, it came as a total shock when, through the family grapevine, she learnt that her name had been announced on the radio as the Essay Competition winner for the senior section of the Secondary Education category.

“And then, it was all over social media, which was slightly overwhelming because I’m not really one for the spotlight. It was just, quite honestly, a surprise, but I’m happy that I won”, Ms. Soverall said.

Proof of the need to spread the message of renewable energy throughout the Caribbean is offered by the laureate herself who says: “I actually knew very little about sustainable energy prior to writing the essay. However, in Communication Studies, which we do in sixth form, we’re taught to do proper research before we engage in a topic. So I did my research, and it became more evident to me as I went along that sustainable energy is something that should be implemented in not just Trinidad and Tobago, but in other Caribbean countries. As I am a business student, I wouldn’t say that I see myself working in the energy sector per se, but I quite definitely see myself implementing it in whatever I pursue.”

As for possible obstacles Ms Soverall perceives regarding the adoption and use of sustainable energy sources, these are of different natures, one financial and the other a case of mentality. In her own words “the initial cost of implementing renewable energy may dissuade people from making the switch from non-renewable energy. Another barrier I think may prevent or barricade Caribbean countries from adopting sustainable energy practices is that Caribbean people are resistant to change. We are used to what we’ve grown up with and what has been in place for years and we don’t want to make a change, even if that change might benefit us, our descendants and our environment.”

Despite being unaware of any projects or initiatives relating to renewable energy in her native Trinidad and Tobago, she is optimistic that “there are many opportunities for us to utilise our natural resources in the Caribbean as an energy source” and she recommends that governments should “definitely target entrepreneurs, as they may be more willing to try something new. Also, administer more initiatives encouraging sustainable energy that youths and other members of the community can be a part of, so that they can understand why sustainable energy is necessary for a better future.”

We congratulate Ms. Soverall for her award-winning essay. As Albert Einstein (1879-1955) said, “the world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking,” a fact confirmed by the laureate’s stance after researching her subject and discovering a world she previously ignored, but which she now embraces and promotes.

Please read Kiziah Soverall’s essay.

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