Eighteen-year-old Dejea Lyons is an environmental activist tackling climate change, plastic pollution, reef and mangrove destruction and over-development. Her green advocacy was inspired by efforts to preserve the local heritage and environment of the Cayman Islands. In 2019, after attending the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp in Vancouver, Canada, she began developing programmes, events and activities to boost youth engagement around these causes.
A 2021 graduate of the Cayman International School (CIS), Dejea was a member of the school’s Model United Nations Club and a youth ambassador for ‘Plastic Free Cayman’. She is also a former vice president of the Cayman youth-based advocacy group ‘Protect Our Future’ and recipient of the CIS Student Empowerment Award 2019-2020. Additionally, Dejea has represented the Cayman Islands at multiple dance festivals, CARIFESTA, and is a member of Dreamchasers Cayman. Her leadership contributions have galvanized support for young leaders launching community projects, beach clean-ups, and environmental awareness campaigns.
Dejea’s campaigns have been recognised by the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) and have sparked dialogue with key stakeholders in the cruise industry. She has also taken on an editor role with OH-WAKE online and print magazine, where she brings awareness to global environmental issues for her generation.
In 2020, she became a co-creator of Ocean Heroes Bootcamp Caribbean and has been an ongoing squad leader for the virtual boot camps for the last two years. In November 2021, Dejea represented the Cayman Islands and other overseas territories at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
As the sole student representative, Dejea sat on the ‘Oceans Panel’ offering insights into the environmental plight of these territories, many of which are substantially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Dejea is currently studying Global Development and Sustainability at Bath Spa University in the UK.