Today is World Oceans Day – a day to recognize and nurture our appreciation for something that covers most of the planet and is an integral part of caring. A healthy ocean supports a healthy planet, which is why talking about how we care for and protect it deserves a more in-depth conversation than usual.
The environmental crisis is a social crisis. It is a perspective that is not often explored, but it has the most impact on the daily lives of people in developing countries, and many of its driving forces lie in the secure and stable social structures of the world. life in the first world.
“If the environmental and social chaos of the past few years and weeks has shown us anything, it’s that our global operating system is full of bugs,” said Michael Stewart, co-founder of Sustainable Surf. âThe environmental, economic and social crisis are interconnected. We believe it is time for the healthy oceans movement to start connecting all of these dots together, so we are focused on taking action within the ocean community to collectively address this issue. “
So how do all of these things relate?
In the West Papua region of Indonesia, for example, village-level poverty is a major driver of deforestation in its mangrove estuaries. And healthy mangrove ecosystems actually protect coastal communities from flooding and store five times more carbon per acre than tropical forests. It’s stories like these that reinforce Sustainable Surf’s statement that there is no climate justice without social justice. Their Marine trees The platform, designed to regenerate and protect coastal ecosystems, allows individuals and brands to easily fund mangrove restoration, creating sustainable jobs for the local indigenous communities who live there. Local people are hired to plant and care for mangroves, infusing both hard currency and reliable jobs in the area.
âIt’s not just about planting trees with our local partner, Eden Projects, then forget about them, âsays Michael. âThe local community is trained to take care of these ecosystems and develop food crops. And perhaps more importantly, when we went to West Papua with our Ambassador Pacha Light and our ocean friends at Protect blue, we also ran local workshops with local community activists to provide ocean health education to their next generation. “
The same philosophy is linked to other projects supported by SeaTrees, such as watershed protection in Cambodia, where they partner with Wildlife Alliance. Or even as the regeneration of kelp forests in California approaches by working with The Bay Foundation, the master plan is always based on local and effective action because that is what is sustainable. Whether it is offsetting carbon emissions or cleaning up and restoring a specific ecosystem, the solution is only a solution if it is sustainable, and more precisely, if it responds to the challenges of poverty, inequalities, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
The work Sustainable Surf does through SeaTrees is designed to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a 17 point plan that outlines how all of these things are interconnected and can be transformed over the next decade. Hunger, education, gender inequality, decent work and economic growth may sound like social problems, but they are each just one link in a system that connects to consumption and consumption. responsible production, drinking water and clean energy, which we generally associate most closely with environmental issues.
âIn short, SeaTrees isn’t just about pushing a button on your phone to plant trees, although it’s something you can do. It is a digital platform that provides communities, like those in West Papua, with the resources and support to restore and protect their local ecosystem for the long term.
The Sustainable Surf model seems to be working. In its first year of operation, the platform: planted 115,000 mangroves, sequestered 24,000 tonnes of CO2, protected 55 different species and supported 34 communities including those in West Papua.
In a digital world, the next obvious link at Sustainable Surf was to develop and launch a mobile app, which they called the Ocean Positive app. The app, explains Michael, not only lets you plant â10 mangroves in 10 seconds,â it’s a pocket guide to keeping a finger on the pulse of other types of ocean-positive activism. The app focuses on content relevant to the environmental, economic and social issues at hand: community-hosted events and demonstrations, plant-based food, banking, volunteering, choosing better amenities for our oceans, and even more.
âAll of the world’s major scientific and political organizations, including the United Nations,â says Michael, âtell us we have about 10 years to mend the mess we’ve made with climate change before we pass a tipping point that our ocean and planet may not be able to return. We are all going to have to work together to solve this problem.