We run 6 core initiatives internationally. These programs were designed to be replicable in multiple locations and our data is all open-source.
1) GLOBAL PROGRAMS (KERALA, INDIA)
Our Marine Conservation Masterplan in India focuses on the key areas which stemmed from on-ground research within our target communities in 2017. Our major programs are:
Waste management and plastic source-reduction programs - including developing a community and household collection facility for the community; building systems from collected plastics, which we recycle to create decentralised closed-loop food production and waste management opportunites through composting and aquaponics (CAP Systems); working with businesses, students, tourists and the local community to transition away from single-use plastics through our Don’t Be A Sucker, India initiative - replacing single-use plastic products with locally sourced compostable Areca Leaf products;
Fisheries management - researching current fishing methods, impacts and biodiversity in our target region to further understand the local situation in order to mitigate threats and recover habitat and fish abundance; creating repurposed products from discarded fishing gear to sell to an international market; engaging local fishermen to explore the potential of a community-led management system, which has the potential to increase fish stocks, whilst increasing local wages and opportunities;
Bio-remediation / micro-remediation of waterways - focusing on the Gangaya estuary in Vizhinjam to eliminate nutrient loads in the waterway; undertake major clean-ups; and create buffer zones to eliminate dumping of waste within the vicinity of the estuary;
Ecotourism - providing the skills, knowledge and support to transition toward PCFML certified, ocean-friendly marine-based ecotourism as a new source of income for the local fishing community.
These four core focus areas are supported by social programs, aimed at increasing and sustaining our ongoing efforts:
* Education - through our partner organisation SISP and our 6 other partners in the region we work with locals of all ages to increase knowledge when it comes to sustainable resource management and conservation, developing future ocean leaders who can drive positive change from within the community;
* Training - ensuring ongoing training to ensure a smooth transition into sustainable industries, whilst skilling-up youth, students and those seeking employment within the community;
* Employment - providing ongoing, fair-trade employment, ensuring a more resilient community, where marine conservation and community health is worth more than exploitation.
You can explore recent successes from our India project here: https://www.facebook.com/positivechangeformarinelife/videos/586881845412058/
2) RIVER WARRIORS (AUSTRALIA)
The model for our River Warriors initiative is simple - during Phase I we run kayak-based surveys to collect baseline data on marine debris in waterways. We then produce a State of Marine Debris Report and Marine Debris Report Card, which rates waterways from A (best) to F (worst) based upon three key variables.
Phase II identifies accumulation hotspots, implements stakeholder engagement/outreach programs based upon our findings and runs public-facing clean-ups to enable a shift in behaviour, addressing the issue at its source. We also begin to collect ecological data and identify areas of potential remediation and habitat restoration.
River Warriors works with schools, universities, local businesses, residents and community groups through hands-on programs, which connect them to their waterways, fostering a sense of stewardship around the environmental, social and economic importance of these vital natural places.
At present, our River Warriors initiative is operational in 4 locations the Byron, Tweed, Gold Coast and Redlands shires in New South Wales and Queensland.
3) ACTIV8 FOR THE OCEAN (AUSTRALIA)
Our Activ8 for the Ocean programs are our signature education programs in schools, universities, remote regions and with communities who are in desperate need of assistance when it comes to conserving their local marine environment.
Our programs focus on a variety of anthropogenic issues affecting marine ecosystems, including:
* Marine Debris and ocean pollution;
* River and estuary pollution and remediation;
We also run a number of programs that are focused in the field and underwater. These include sea-kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, beach surveys, coastal hikes and other activities, which enable participants to understand their focus area through connecting directly with the ocean and the issues that it faces.
Our Activ8 programs are heavily action-oriented and aim to support participants into becoming active leaders, who are guided in developing their own projects and learning the skills necessary to run campaigns, trainings and events that make a difference through inspiring others to act. To date we have worked with schools, community groups, tour operators, businesses, fishing cooperatives, and universities in Japan; India; Brazil; the Seychelles; and in Australia.
4) DON'T BE A SUCKER (AUSTRALIA)
Our Don’t Be A Sucker Campaign (DBAS) is an alliance between our grassroots community work and our collaborative partners in Australia. It's aim is to:
Shift businesses toward becoming waste-free. We tailor programs alongside our business partners to make the transition away from single-use items smooth, affordable and worthwhile, developing incentives, training staff and educating customers on the importance of a single-use free future;
We focus on ALL single-use items and try to eliminate or at least heavily reduce single-use reliance to ensure long-term environmental and social benefits;
We can develop sustainable solutions through our partner organisations fair-trade factory in India - ask us how!
5) BUTT-FREE BEACHES (AUSTRALIA)
Since 2012 we've collected over 400,000 pieces of debris from beaches across our target regions in Australia. This is an incredible number considering that our surveys take place fortnightly and only cover a 200m x 20m area. Cigarette butts make up around 60-80% of our findings across all of our survey locations.
In 2018, alongside Byron Shire council, we implemented a shire wide enforceable smoking ban on beaches, as well as outreach program that protects our ocean and ensures healthy coastlines for tourists and locals alike!
Our Butt-Free Beaches campaign has now spread to other regions across New South Wales and Queensland.
6) HONOUR THE OCEAN (AUSTRALIA)
Our Honour the Ocean campaign focuses on scientific beach surveys, which are at the heart of our broader initiatives. Through determining marine debris hotspots and identifying behaviours and patterns of marine debris, we use our findings to implement campaigns and projects to mitigate the impacts that it is having on the marine environment. Through our work with communities, businesses, and governments we aim to plant the seed across Australia and internationally in the places that we work to raise awareness, reduce debris and conserve our oceans.