2021 is a pivotal year for pushing forward global action on the climate and ecological emergencies. The Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15 or CBD) in May and the COP on Climate Change (CoP 26) in November will see the world’s governments come together to determine political commitments to safeguard the future of the biosphere. While these critical decisions are being made, Blue Ventures is committed to bringing the threats to our oceans and coasts to the forefront of the public consciousness.
Blue Ventures’ executive director Alasdair Harris joined TV presenter Simon Reeve at an online TEDxExeter event to highlight the importance of community-led marine conservation to address the crisis facing our oceans.
Participants at the live event first watched Alasdair’s TED talk ‘How a handful of fishing villages sparked a marine conservation revolution’, which has clocked up over two million views. Alasdair and Simon then reflected on their own experiences and perspectives, exploring solutions that could work for people and nature. Simon is a long standing supporter of Blue Ventures’ work, having visited Blue Ventures’ initiatives in Madagascar as part of his Indian Ocean and Capricorn series, and in Belize for his series on the Americas.
Simon underscored the importance of locally led approaches to marine protection, highlighting that Blue Ventures’ approach is “very different; you truly work with the local community. Your first point of action is always listening, which clearly works.”
Alasdair emphasised the critical importance of putting communities at the centre of conservation efforts, explaining that Blue Ventures “demonstrates how effective conservation can be when put in the hands of communities. We put people at the centre of our work, we see conservation as a humanitarian imperative.”
This set the scene for breakout groups for the over 250 strong audience to share their own thoughts on how to prevent an ‘SOS ocean emergency’.
The participants were excited to learn about coastal communities identifying and addressing major issues of poverty, overfishing and biodiversity loss themselves. They enjoyed hearing how these communities are building context specific solutions with the potential to address the global scale of the climate and ecological emergency we face.
Watch Alasdair’s TED talk ‘How a handful of fishing villages sparked a marine conservation revolution’.
Find out more about the importance of community health for conservation.
Spend some time with Madame Kokoly to find out what it’s like to be a small-scale fisher in Madagascar.
Discover more about Blue Ventures’ work to rebuild fisheries with coastal communities.