World Island News Roundup
When the Seacology staff decided to venture into the world of blogging, we each reflected upon what our specialties would be... As a generalist and news junkie who loves to scan headlines, I set up some Google News alerts with keywords such as "coral reef," "island environment," "island conservation" etc. I now receive an email each day with various headlines and links to news websites and blogs containing these terms.
I am hooked! There is the odd, random story that has nothing to do with Seacological matters, but I have followed several fascinating stories in the past few weeks. Here are a few...
From Science Daily, "Coastal Habitats are the Biosphere's Most Imperiled Ecosystems." From the negative effects of coastal urbanization, to loss of mangrove and seagrass habitats, to the positive effects of fish on the recovery of coral reefs, this fascinating report details the many challenges facing coastlines throughout the world. The bulk of Seacology's projects work directly to alleviate these threats by helping island communities protect their precious resources.
From the Jamaica Gleaner, "US urges Caribbean to reduce loans by preserving reefs, forests." The upshot is that Caribbean, South American and Asian nations will have an opportunity to reduce their debt to the United States if they instead conserve their natural resources. This "debt-for-nature" swap scheme would provide an economic incentive for conservation, and help protect natural resources that are critical to tourism, which is critical to island economies.
From the UK's Guardian Unlimited, "Island Nations Warn of Warming Threat." A few weeks ago, the United Nations held its first-ever climate summit. Pacific Islands, Caribbean and Indian Ocean leaders all spoke with urgency regarding the impending environmental and social crises resulting from ocean level rise and rising sea temperatures. While traveling in Micronesia this summer, I saw firsthand how close some of the low-lying Marshall Islands are to disappearing. In Yap, I spoke with local leaders about the impacts of outer islanders who must relocate to the main island, where resources, space and opportunities are limited. The specter of global warming is very real in these places, and it is important for the stories of islanders to be heard by all of us.
OK, I'll end on a lighter note... In my elusive spare time, I am an avid crafter. Give me a glue gun, a ball of yarn, a piece of fabric and some beads and I'll come up with something creative and fun. I loved this story from the Chicago Tribune entitled "The coral reef stitch," about a HUGE crocheted coral reef created by some 120 Chicago-area crafters. Now THAT is a creative way to draw attention to the beauty of our oceans, and the threats to these incredibly endangered ecosystems! Way to go, Chicago-area crochet enthusiasts!