For our first blog of 2016, we asked last year’s Prize recipients to tell us hopes and plans for the coming year. Sharing their thoughts with us are Howard Wood (2015, Scotland) of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST), Jean Wiener (2015, Haiti) of the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Biodiversity (FoProBiM) and Phyllis Omido (2015, Kenya) of the Center for Justice Governance & Environmental Action (CJGEA):
“It has been a fantastic year for COAST, and I’d like to thank and recognize the effort, passion and drive of all our COAST volunteers and supporters.
To safeguard the seas around Arran and the Clyde and the livelihoods these support, this past year our volunteers have put in thousands of hours of hard work. They have been working on developing educational resources for teachers and new publications for all ages, delivering outreach events, carrying out underwater research to understand what is happening below the surface of the waves and campaigning hard to raise Arran’s community voice with government.
The steady flow of awards and prizes which have been received over the past few years confirm the community of Arran is really making a difference to equitable marine management. In particular the support of the Goldman Foundation has been outstanding. The Goldman Prize could not have been awarded at a better time to put maximum pressure on the Scottish Government to put forward effective management in the Marine Protected Areas (MPA). As Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary says ‘Scotland’s seas are not owned by any one individual or vested interest’.
The key to success is co-operation. We work on a daily basis with local community groups, wildlife rangers, schools, businesses, council authorities, fishermen, universities, government agencies and environmental organizations. Together, we are making things happen.
Although it hasn’t all been plain sailing, with vested interests strongly opposing meaningful marine protection measures in the Clyde, I am pleased to say that today, the Marine Conservation Order that excludes dredging in the South Arran Marine Protected Area, has been laid before parliament. All going well it will come into force early February.
The year ahead will be an exciting one. COAST is looking for funding to set up a new community led marine interpretation center for the Arran Marine Protected Area, while rolling out of a variety of outreach activities, so look out for the Marine Mobile! We will continue to campaign for sustainable fisheries management in the Clyde and the implementation of all Scottish MPAs.
Wishing you all a healthy, peaceful and sustainable New Year. Let’s keep our hopes high that 2016 will see adequate protection for all our seas.”
Help Wood continue to protect the marine environment around Arran by becoming a COAST supporter! Your gift will go straight to supporting COAST’s advocacy, research and educational outreach campaigns.
“As this year draws to an end and we begin to focus on the coming year it’s time to pause and reflect on the goals achieved up to this point how we will continue our vision of living on a healthy planet through the protection and sustainable use of our resources. As in every year there have been tragic lows and amazing successes. Our planet, and our very survival, remains at risk.
In Haiti we are continuing our efforts to establish more marine managed areas, cleaning up and rehabilitating our environment, and providing environmental education to as many people as possible. We are continuing to seek environmentally friendly and sustainable income generating options for local people in order to stop the use of destructive practices; only by providing these options can environmental degradation be halted.
Importantly for us in Haiti, we are hoping for peace and political stability so we can all move forward and get on with the work of generating amazing environmental successes.
We wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year. Tolerance and health above all.”
Together with FoProBiM, Wiener has been heading numerous community conservation activities, encouraging sustainable livelihood activities. Most recently, he has been working with young people in Haiti to tend mangroves, coconut and even training them as bee-keepers!
“My wish for this year is that Kenya walks the talk in terms of climate justice. That our political leaders will realize that environmental matters are not about politics but about a future for our children. They need to implement existing policies and remove corruption from the environmental governance systems in Kenya.”
Omido not only continues to protect communities in Kenya from lead poisoning, but is currently training human rights defenders to strengthen the capacity and resilience of human rights leaders in the country.