22 Jun Faithful to Nature & Sustainable Seas Trust Partner In Protecting Planet And People
A little over 35 years ago, three scientists from the British Antarctic Survey discovered and announced that there is a hole in the ozone layer. It became a great focus among conservationists and environmentalists, and was even taught in school. In 2006, former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore, started a campaign to educate people about global warming and it’s potential to raise sea levels. A year later, Academy Award winner, Leonardo DiCaprio, spearheaded The 11th Hour and it was at this point that the public really started to become involved in earth preservation.
Throughout these years, diligent work was being done by Sustainable Seas Trust (SST). At the request of the International Advisory Panel of the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Project, SST was founded in 2006, to care for the resources and people living along the coast of the Western Indian Ocean. The non-profit organisation has worked in collaboration with individuals from the island of Comoros, as well as Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Mauritius and Seychelles for the past 14 years. Dr. Anthony Ribbink, CEO and Founding Trustee started SST with an initial focus on sustainability through education and coastal rehabilitation. Every project since then has been shaped by what the communities and ecosystem require at the time.
“The changes in conservation over the last 14 years are positive in terms of a far greater understanding of the issues among the public, business and governments,” Dr. Anthony Ribbink shares, “but we cannot deny the impacts COVID-19 has had on the oceans. We have seen a rise in personal protective equipment (PPE) such as disposable masks and gloves, being irresponsibly discarded and thus ending up in water sources and washing up along coastlines”.
Faithful to Nature and SST have partnered to promote sustainable living and eco-consciousness. Stacey Webb, the Executive Director of SST, explains, “Raising awareness and inspiring positive behavioural changes is more successful through collaboration. In this way, we hope to reach more people and make a significant impact.”
Initially, we were all impressed by the environmental improvements brought on by nationwide lockdowns that were enforced across the globe. There were fewer cars on the road and non-essential factories were closed, so carbon emissions decreased. Most of us were stationed at home, which spared public areas of litter. Now that lockdown regulations are lifting, there is a massive resurgence of pollution in various forms. Thus Stacey stresses, “It is essential that each one of us shifts our mindset from a throw-away society that uses single-use items, to a more environmental and health-conscious society that uses sustainable, reusable alternatives. Making more sustainable choices during the pandemic includes using reusable masks, and only using disposable gloves if you are providing health care and cleaning services.”
Responsible waste management stretches beyond this.
Through a partnership with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Department of Health (DoH) and Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), SST is assisting with education in communities regarding responsible waste management to provide guidelines and protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you or a loved one has tested positive for COVID-19, you will know that there are strict regulations for the disposal of your waste to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus. Stacey explains, “With the shortage of tests worldwide you may not necessarily be tested if you have mild symptoms and you could be asymptomatic. It is therefore important to practice responsible waste management at home. By storing your waste for five days before collection or drop-off, you can reduce the risk of ‘live’ viral particles transferring to another person.
SST has a diverse range of programmes centered around conservation, reducing plastic pollution and alleviating poverty. If you would like to know more, or get involved in some way, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Similar to Faithful to Nature’s #SayNoToPlastic goal, SST is committed to achieving “Zero Plastics to the Seas of Africa” through their programmes and collaborations. Faithful to Nature will be donating to SST, through the sale of WAYSTD masks on their website. For every mask purchased, FTN will donate the full retail mark-up to SST. Additionally, for every mask sold, Faithful to Nature will be donating a mask to a nearby community in need.