This article was written by Angeline Chen, Co-Founder, Director of Development & Partnerships at Global Coralition.
Global Coralition is a nonprofit organization focused on accelerating marine restoration with local island communities by combining the power of art and science.
We take three main approaches:
- Inspire a local movement by building a large scale sculptural reef that raises awareness and attracts participation.
- We use techniques of micro fragmentation and coral gardening and train the local dive community, fishermen and youth. Our aim is to increase key species and habitats and empower the dive community to maintain the site and eventually create new sites.
- Mitigate the main causes of reef degradation by partnering with water treatment and recycling technology, creating education opportunities with local communities and establishing marine protection.
We have been in Sosua, Dominican Republic since January 2020, where we have built a sculpture of Atabey, the Universal Mother of the Taino people. She stands 20′ tall, becoming the tallest underwater sculpture in the world. Her surface will be covered in micro fragments, with a hollow interior for effective habitat for fish. Surrounding her are structures which will serve as nurseries for fast-growing corals, which we will nurse and out-plant onto nearby degraded reefs. We prepare the reef by cleaning and removing predators.
The local dive community realizes that this sculptural reef restoration site will be an attractive dive site, which motivates them to learn and participate with us. We collaborate with divers, fishermen and youth, making coral restoration exciting and financially fruitful. By identifying and empowering local leaders, we can develop a community-driven movement for long-term conservation in the region, as our team targets new areas.
In the Dominican Republic, the main causes of degradation are primarily pollution from the rivers and unsustainable fishing practices. We have developed a marine enforcement coalition which is now protecting four miles of coast, with opportunity to expand. We are working to bring recycling technology to the island, which would reduce waste ending up in the ocean while providing income opportunities for the local communities. Our partners at MIGO Water Solutions are installing water treatment technology to treat the sewage before it ends up in the ocean. Through education, collaboration across fields, an inspired and empowered local community and a holistic approach to reef restoration, we can improve quality of life and ecology, together.
We are grateful to have participated in the first Ocean Sprint from Uplink/World Economic Forum and to be a part of such an inspiring community working towards healthy and abundant oceans.