Exciting news! The Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment Facility (UNDP) has agreed to fund the next phase of our restoration work at Tongareva Atoll. Our project started on 1st February 2018. Meitaki Poria to all involved in the application, review and approval of this grant.
Project Title: Conserving Biodiversity of Tongareva Atoll through Training, Revegetation, and Waste Management.
Conservation: focuses mainly on protecting or restoring habitats that are used by our endangered and migratory species. We use rahui (a traditional form of sustainable resource use) to close any harvest that we are concerned about ~ it works very well.
Climate Change: This is the major cause of our problems nowadays. The impacts are varied and severe, but include ocean acidification; coral bleaching; death of the giant clams; many of the pelagic fish left, followed by large birds that prey on them; many trees died and the soil dried out and blew away. A tragic set of events for our simple subsistence way of life. Our people have a Sacred duty to pass on a healthy, abundant and diverse ecosystem to our future generations :just as the Ancestors bequeathed to us.
Remote as our homeland is, the uncaring behaviour of the outside world still impacts our beautiful atoll. "We wish you would wake up!"
Waste Management: This is mostly to do with plastics in the ocean. Our atoll creates very little waste, but our shores are littered with rubbish from the far-away world. Debris is mostly mass-consumerism products or industrial fishing gear.
We will do regular beach cleans, categorise and tally the rubbish; identify countries of origin or manufacturers if possible, and then export it for reprocessing.
Revegetation: This continues and extends our forest restoration efforts so far. Our major work is at Akasusa, but we have started at some other degraded sites too.
Coastal Protection: One driver of tree loss is coastal erosion caused by large waves. To combat this we will use large boulders and fallen trees to buffer the shoreline. It is important to allow the waves to ebb & flow naturally as this greatly reduces the force of impact (concrete gets eaten away).
Community Education: This includes presentations to the general public, in-depth training workshops for project staff, and staff development for key members of our team. Courses will also be available via Kura Tongareva ~ our Faculty of the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute.