[Coral-List] Children's underwater coral reef education programs

Thomas Goreau goreau at bestweb.net
Fri Jan 11 21:32:07 EST 2008

Most children now will never be able to see a healthy coral reef  
except in books and old films and photographs. Yet it is important  
for them to learn how we are destroying their future, in the hope  
that they will learn to avoid the mistakes of previous generations.

For more than 10 years, the Global Coral Reef Alliance Children's  
program has worked to organize programs with children from poor  
fishing villages among the Kuna Indians of Ukupseni, Kuna Yala,  
Panama and in Sagay, Negros Occidental, in the central Visayas Sea of  
the Philippines.

These use donations to bring children's masks, fins, and snorkels to  
local schools and museums in poor fishing communities, so that  
children who swim like fish but can't afford masks to look at what is  
beneath them, can see for themselves the differences between healthy  
and damaged reefs, and in particular to see coral reef and fisheries  
restoration projects being carried out in their own communities.

The children are thrilled by what they see and learn, and all want to  
protect the reefs. A special focus is to ensure that this gear is  
kept in the hands of responsible local educational groups, so that  
the gear does not get used by adults who might use it to increase  
overharvesting. Similar programs are being carried out by the Snorkel  
Bob Foundation of Hawaii.

The success of waste separation and recycling in Europe and North  
America was largely driven by children, who realized that mounting  
garbage was ruining their future quality of life and were willing to  
say "NO daddy, DON'T throw that plastic bag on the ground, and DON'T  
throw it with the compostable garbage either, put it over HERE!".

We feel strongly that such underwater education programs, targeting  
children from communities who live from the reefs, and focusing on  
how they can restore their own resources, need to be expanded in all  
coastal developing countries. Coral reefs are too important for  
children not to have a stake in preserving their future, because  
previous generations have failed miserably.

For more on the Global Coral Reef Alliance Children's underwater  
coral reef education program please see:



Marina Goreau (17),
Director, Children's Education Programs
Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
Global Coral Reef Alliance
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
goreau at bestweb.net

> Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 19:09:54 +0000
> From: Andrei Salcedo G <andrei670 at hotmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] What can scientists do: ARE YOU READY?
> To: <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Message-ID: <BLU127-W4572D12260C597905D90ECEB4B0 at phx.gbl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>> From my point of view, consciousness is the key stone to the  
>> problems facing coral reefs. This topic is crucial when trying to  
>> develop environmental and conservation policies. Here In Colombia,  
>> we are trying to develop a new concept in tourism called  
>> biological tourism, which main objetive is joinning people from  
>> the common with scientists through educative field trips. In this  
>> field trips, we try to show to the people how mankind?s activity  
>> is the main factor driving ecosystems disturbances.
> Also we are working with schools and students, with the aim of  
> helping them in the discovery of the great biodiversity and its  
> importance.
> Hence, from our perspective, and living in a developing country,  
> the only way to save ecosystems (not only marine) is developing an  
> economic model based in part on this biological tourism. This idea  
> has economic, social, and environmental impact since we try to work  
> with vulnerable populations, teaching them to preserve their lands  
> but retrieveing them, at the same time, with funds, increassing  
> life quality. Besides, we want to create consciousness between the  
> childern of our country, creating, furthermore, novel ideas of  
> economic development. We think that our present political  
> representatives have a wrong view of the correct economical  
> activities, creating this way, astronomical social differences  
> between social classes.
> This is just a "drop of water in the sea". Obviously, our economic  
> and social impact is restricted since our coverage is limited, but  
> we think we are in the wright pathway.
> Best regards. Happy new year.
> Dendrobates; Sociedad de Turismo Biol?gico
> Turismo y Ciencia
> Bi?logo universidad Javeriana Colombia

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