Seacology's Mission Supports All Aspects of Life on Islands
Today, islands are home to the greatest number of endangered species on the planet. More, in fact, than all of the great continents combined. As a matter of fact, in the past 500 years, 62 percent of all mammal and 88 percent of all bird extinctions have been island species. Further, The National Academy of Sciences published the results of an independent study of extinction hotspots around the world in 2006, and every one of the top ten sites is on an island.
Due to the self-contained nature of island environments, their ecosystems are so vulnerable to damage caused by introduced species, inappropriate development, pollution and global warming. Island coral reefs, mangroves and rainforests, which hold an astounding array of marine and terrestrial life, are among the world's most threatened ecosystems. Yet because individual islands are often small and remote, little philanthropic and non-profit resources have been devoted to preserving island biodiversity.
To combat this global crisis, Seacology was formed as an international nonprofit organization with staff in 1999. Since then, we have launched an incredible 160 island-based projects, saving 1,780,486 acres of marine ecosystems and 101,446 acres of incredibly precious terrestrial habitat on 90 islands in 41 countries worldwide. Seacology's mission is to preserve island habitats along with island cultures around the world. With this goal, we endeavor to reverse the trend of island wildlife, plant life, and marine life extinctions globally, fostering biodiversity worldwide while supporting historic island cultures.
Seacology searches for solutions where both the local island environment is protected and islanders receive some lasting benefit for doing so. We call this a win-win deal. How do we do this? Seacology has created an innovative model of ecosystem preservation that is inexpensive, maintains indigenous land ownership, and improves the whole island community. Seacology implements solutions by asking islanders to identify a communal need we can support, such as a fresh water delivery system or elementary school for island children. In exchange, the village agrees to establish and manage a marine or terrestrial reserve.
We're not just an environmental organization; we address the humanitarian needs of islanders as well. In return for establishing island marine and forest reserves, Seacology has helped islanders build 65 facilities such as schools, community centers, solar energy systems and even a geriatric ward. We've also funded 24 programs providing scholarships, vital medical services and supplies for island communities. These are just a few of the creative ways we've been able to brainstorm with islanders to address the overwhelming challenges they face with island life today. From reef to mangrove, from sandy beach to mountain rainforest, Seacology assists islanders in sustaining their traditional lifestyle, which in turn will preserve the great historic island cultures as well as the riot of biodiversity to which the islands of the world play host.