The coral reef of New Caledonia is among the world's largest and most unique. Its geography provides protection from deadly global warming bleaching that plagues most coral reefs. The most serious danger to the reef comes from nickel mining, the island's largest industry. With the support of New Caledonia's dominant ruling party, the RPCR (Rassemblement Pour le Caledonie dans la Republique), the International Nickel Company of Canada plans to dig up large portions of the reef for calcium carbonate to neutralize its acidic tailings. Numerous other companies are ready to proceed with this same process, and New Caledonia has no laws to prevent this catastrophe.
Bruno Van Peteghem's campaign to place the reef on UNESCO's World Heritage List is the coral's best hope for protection. He and two organizations he co-founded, the New Caledonian Greens (Les Verts Pacifique) and Living Coral (Corail Vivant), lead a coalition of organizations and indigenous communities to save the reef. Despite serious challenges from the RPCR, Corail Vivant is seeking to join the International Coral Reefs Initiative. Key backing has come recently from leadership of the political party representing the island's indigenous Melaneisan people. This is particularly important as Van Peteghem builds the public support that is critical to convincing the RPCR to endorse the World Heritage nomination.
Learn more about Bruno's work here.
Goldman Environmental Foundation
Or submit a request for materials.