Seacology News: May 2011 Archives
From coral reef cures to climate change lawsuits, there have been many recent happenings in the world of islands. Read on for summaries of island news...
Medical Cures in Coral Reefs?
Among the many reasons to protect coral reefs--including the staggering biodiversity these "rainforests of the sea" contain, and their increasingly endangered status around the world--an unexpected boon from reefs may be their burgeoning contributions to the field of medicine. From anti-inflammatory drugs to sunblock, coral reefs already provide compounds for many medical products, and scientists believe they likely hold many more. Read this Grist interview with two doctors who are studying the role coral reefs may play in the health of humans--as well as the oceans.
A diver on a Seacology trip explores a coral reef. Photo by Sylvia Earle.
Good News from Cabilao, Philippines
Last year, Seacology funded a project on Cabilao Island, in the Philippines, to help protect the local coral reefs and marine ecosystems. Our project included a 50-acre extension on an existing marine protected area in exchange for funding to renovate an antique lighthouse, to be used as a display facility for locally produced handicrafts. Our Philippines Field Representative Ferdie Marcelo recently returned from Cabilao with an update on the community's work. They have finished the renovations, and are continuing to monitor the MPA and increase their handicraft market. Read Ferdie's fascinating blog post for details about our Cabilao Island project.
The newly renovated Cabilao lighthouse. Photo by Ferdie Marcelo.
Scattered across the South Pacific, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is an island nation that includes the states of Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, and Pohnpei. Comprised mostly of small, low-lying islands, FSM is already experiencing some of the devastating effects of climate change, which will only increase in the years to come. But at the Threatened Island Nations Conference held last week in New York City, FSM detailed the legal action it took in January 2010 against a large power station in the Czech Republic, on the grounds that the plant's pollution contributed to the climate change that was harming island nations like FSM. Although the Czech court did not end up agreeing with FSM, it has taken some steps in response to FSM's plea for action against climate change. Read more about this precedent-setting case here.