My name is Melissa Ingraham and I am the Miss Bahamas Universe 2023. I am an environmental scientist by profession and most recently I returned from Ireland after studying for my Master’s Degree in Climate Change. I am advocating for the importance and urgency of adopting sustainable living methods as a means of climate action to support adapting to climate change impacts in The Bahamas, the Caribbean and globally. My campaign is titled “One Planet, One Chance; Stop Climate Change” and I hope to make a positive impact on a social and economic level that supports environmental climate action efforts. I chose this topic of advocacy as it is a passion of mine that is near and dear to my heart. With the adoption of targets identified under the Sustainable Development Goals, I believe we can turn the tide against challenges we expect to face brought by climate impacts. The timeframe to make a significant impact through climate action is winding down – therefore the time to act is now.
I enjoy doing community based environmental projects that focus on education and awareness while providing a physical and hands-on opportunity to be involved in change-making. Specifically, ridge to reef based approaches such as inland, wetland and coastal tree plantings have been the root of my volunteer work since 2020. Having been the past National Leader of The Bahamas 100,000 Tree Planting Initiative (2020 – 2021), I had the opportunity to work with a diversity of partnered agencies and volunteer groups across eight islands in the country to achieve the widespread message that the simple action of growing and planting trees is a way that individuals can participate in climate action. Through this project, youth engagement and female empowerment were also key components that were considered every step of the way.
The Miss Universe Platform is a prestigious honor and opportunity that is allowing me to voice climate change impacts to a global audience. Therefore, I confidently and proudly wear this crown bestowed upon me as an ambassador of The Bahamas and as an environmental steward.