Glimmers of hope spur me on. Seeing change coming from the actions of others, inspires me to take action too.
This is why I am sharing the news of Mission Blue Hope Spots. These Hope Spots are special places critical to the health of the ocean and each Spot is championed by local conservationists. When a Hope Spot demonstrates rich biodiversity or an abundance of a rare, threatened or endemic species, it paves the way for possible future designation by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a Marine Protected Area (MPA). Anyone can nominate a site that feels special - a site that gives ‘hope’. Collectively all these Hope Spots create a global wave of community support for ocean conservation, vital for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 - ‘Life Below Water’.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, SDG 14 is amongst the least funded of the Sustainable Development Goals by both Official Development Assistance and philanthropic development funding. This is also true of private funding; it is very challenging in sustainable investment to identify companies supporting SGD 14 despite oceans covering more than 70% of the surface of our planet. Over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Marine Protected Areas contribute to poverty reduction by increasing fish catches and income, creating new jobs, improving health, and empowering women. Hope Spots are a wonderful staging post to creating more MPAs that can protect these marine and coastal ecosystems.
Last month I was lucky to meet a team of marine biologists whose Hope Spot had been accepted and to see how much this achievement meant to them. ‘Hip, hip, hooray’ for all those champions and local community partners at all these far reaching Hope Spots, for making their applications and their plans for a sustainable future. They exemplify the oft-cited strapline “think globally, act locally”.
So what can we do to support ‘Life Below Water’?
Day to day we can be careful to buy sustainably sourced fish, the best being “pole and line caught” (as opposed to using trawlers). Ask your supermarket fish counter or fishmonger about where and how their fish was caught and be prepared for a little extra cost for good provenance. Good waste management on land avoids marine pollution. Shockingly the World Economic Forum estimates 32% of plastic packaging escapes collection systems, don’t let it be yours.
What we can all do today is avoid the single serving items like bottled drinks when we are out and about. More commuting means ‘grab and go’ convenience drinks and snacks are on the up again. We all know they are more expensive too, so with the cost of living squeeze avoiding them will also help our family finances. Not to mention that drinking water from a refillable bottle, rather than having an impulsive sugary drink, will also help our waistlines!
I leave you with a video, a message of hope, nicely grafted by my children and inspired by a Hope Spot and its champions.