At Seacology, we believe that environmental issues are human issues. When an island community wants to protect a forest or marine area, we offer a grant that will benefit the whole community—for example, a school, ecotourism center, or water system.
This win-win approach recognizes the efforts of indigenous communities and gives them an economic incentive to preserve their natural resources.
It also recognizes that local communities—who are often ignored by decisionmakers—can be the best stewards of the environment. Our experience has shown us that indigenous people have tremendous ecological knowledge, commitment to sustainable use, and ability to manage their natural resources. Science backs us up. Studies show that indigenous knowledge and management improve the monitoring of ecological changes, the fostering of biodiversity, and the preservation of valuable ecosystems and can reduce poverty.
Here are a few examples of how Seacology’s approach works in the real world:
Restricting fishing in part of Jamaica’s Oracabessa Bay results in more fish in adjacent areas. The no-take zone protects the reef and lets fishers earn a living to support their families.
Protecting a 2,471-acre forest on the Philippines’ Sibuyan Island protects crucial watershed, and a Seacology grant funds solar lighting that lets children to study after dark.
When Seacology funded a new school in Samoa’s Falealupo, it meant that village leaders didn’t need to sell logging rights in order to pay for their children’s education.