We're no longer going to refer to "climate change". Instead, we're going to use the more realistic term "climate crisis": eleven years to prevent irreversible damage, according to a recent report from the UN General Assembly. And some scientists fear we may have exceeded that threshold for many ecosystems and regions, as we catapult our way through the sixth wave of extinction.
For six years, we (Janis and Brooks) have been working with partners in Vanuatu, helping build capacity for adaptation and greater social and environmental resilience. But it is increasingly clear that communities' local efforts are struggling to keep up with the rate and the nature of the changes occurring.
The world simply must make every effort to keep further CO2 out of the atmosphere.
While all of us will be impacted by the crisis, countries in the global south are much more vulnerable. Therefore, we believe we must do more to make these stories heard!
We believe that the efforts and stories of our partners in Vanuatu must reach further and, in turn, they need to know that others are listening, and hopefully acting. So in 2019, we two have set off on an expedition of a different kind, traveling to countries impacted by the climate crisis to gather stories for a new video. The message is that people like our partners in Vanuatu are working hard to adapt and to protect biodiversity that is not only essential to their way of life, but is of global value, that is, of value to each and everyone of us on this planet. They need those in other countries to make our voices heard, to rise up and bring about change. We're not only seeking stories from least developed countries like Vanuatu, where governments and people don't have the money to respond, but also from countries where people risk their safety if they raise their voices in protest.
Frankly, we're not very optimistic. Nor do we presume that our small efforts will have much effect; nor are we sure that these actions are the most effective ones we can take! Nevertheless this is our contribution.
First stop, Vietnam! Although a country with a fast growing economy and cityscapes of towering modern spires, the country's 95+ million people are highly vulnerable to climate change. In fact, the country is ranked 6th in the world on the Climate Risk Index.
We'll be posting regular updates about this expedition, so please follow along. In the meantime, here are just a few photos from the Mekong Delta (Population 21.5 million, elevation 0 ft/cm) a vast region of rivers and swamps and the location of most of Vietnam's rice production. Large scale internal migration is already underway due to the collapse of farming.
IR was pleased to co-sponsor the World Oceans Day clean up day in Port Vila this year. We quickly together this short video about the event!
A recent story in Island Life Magazine from IR about women environmental leaders across Vanuatu!
Island Women -- Leading the way to a sustainable future
The current issue of Island Life magazine is featuring this story from IR about coral gardening in Vanuatu.
How to Grow a Coral Garden: Islanders looking after their reefs
Take a look at IR's 2018 report of activities! Great photos and amazing actions by our local partners around Vanuatu! Click on the coral image below to follow the link:
First, please follow our facebook page where we do a lot more up-to-date postings!
Here is the latest video, a short 4 minute look at women and the environment in Vanuatu!
Catching up on some news.... The IR team attended the Vanua'tai Annual General Meeting which was held at the Wan Smolbag facility in Port Vila this year. This was our 4th year in attendance. IR presentations included the first screening of the women Vanua'tai video as well as a presentation on coral gardening.
Alphonse Yemen and the team from Torba Province present on actions across the province. The pink slips are islands where IR has been assisting Vanua'tai monitors.
Torba monitors, with Vanua'tai coordinator Donald James.
Joyce Ailee, from Melip, Malekula, giving her presentation.
Participants at the AGM, including the largest number of women ever!
We are so excited to release this latest video documenting the role played by women in natural resource management and environmental decision-making as part of Wan Smolbag's Vanua'tai Resource Monitors Network. In Vanuatu, threats posed to biodiversity from population growth and overharvesting, climate change, and extractive economies of scale are compounding. For the people of these South Pacific islands, the loss of biodiversity impacts food security and well-being. Case studies from around the world reveal that empowering women leads to more effective and sustained biodiversity conservation. With principle funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, and additional funding from Global Greengrants Fund and the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, Island Reach has been collaborating with this indigenous environmental group to increase women's participation, build their capacity, and facilitate peer-to-peer exchanges. Increasingly, women are sharing stories and lessons learned with each other, becoming more knowledgeable about conservation efforts, encouraging each other in actions, and developing leadership skills that enable them to assist their communities to pursue sustainable conservation goals. Women's participation in the Vanua'tai network as environmental stewards and agents of change is inspirational. These women serve as a model for women in conservation and communities across the Pacific region and beyond.
These are some of the signboards installed around Southwest bay as part of the creation of the MPA networks. Support for this project was provided by the Waitt Foundation. Check out the latest video from the region on our videos page.
The Island Reach story began in 2010 at Berkshire Sweet Gold Maple Farm with our family’s decision to take action for oceans in crisis. Today, in Vanuatu, Island Reach works with communities, government and non-profit sectors to empower local environmental champions, and bring people closer together to provide support, inspire conservation projects, and build greater resilience and food security across this stunning archipelago. The remarkable friendships sustain us as a community of grassroots activists and energize us for the year ahead!
As 2017 draws to a close, we’re reaching out to ask for your support with a donation to Island Reach. Whatever you contribute will go to community projects led by local activists!
All donations are tax-deductible, AND will be matched by a generous donor, so your impact will be doubled!
You can learn more about our 2017 actions in our annual report
And if you haven’t had a chance yet, check out the powerful and gripping documentary Chasing Coral – available on Netflix - and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Ronneth John, project manager for Island Reach, appears in the film speaking about the coral bleaching crisis in Vanuatu.
We greatly appreciate any contribution you can make to fuel IR’s rapidly growing ridge to reef activism.
Janis, Brooks, Connor, Rowan & Gavin, the Island Reach team