World Ocean Day 2021

World Ocean Day

Today, June 7 it’s World Ocean Day and we continue the idea, originally put forward by the Canadian Government at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, to pay special attention to the world’s oceans. Each year a particular theme is chosen, which in the past often included, for instance, the plastic problem. Today’s theme is Life & Livelihoods. Looking at the sad facts that we have already lost 90% of the big fish populations in the oceans and 50% of the world’s coral reefs, we can immediately see how relevant the special 2021 theme is.

Reforestation and  agroforestry

I am sure most of our Masarang Foundation friends know us best for our land rehabilitation work like reforestation, agroforestry, wildlife conservation, etc. But do not forget the hundreds of thousands of sea turtles hatchlings that went back to the ocean thanks to our work in Tulap and now also in our new Temboan and Salimburung projects. And though still on a very small scale, we are working on helping the coral reefs recover, which in itself will help the fish populations recover and that in turn will help the local people with more sustainable jobs and food security.

Clean-up beaches at Temboan Beach

And let’s not forget that Masarang for years has organized beach clean-ups with groups of school children, volunteers and local people and worked on recycling plastic. We even invested in waste processing equipment for the people of Tomohon and made a master plan to prevent plastic from going to the oceans. Now we are starting a program on integrating ocean plastic waste found on our almost 5 kilometres of coral beaches. We use it in our work on using local building materials that, for instance, can isolate walls better and thus save energy while keeping our beaches cleaner.

World Ocean Day, cleaning beaches, Temboan Beach Hong Kong International School, cleaning beaches Temboan,

Villagers of nearby Mangkit cleaning up the Salimburung beach. An international school from Hong Kong ready to clean up the Tasikoki Beach.

Temboan’s newest project

Besides all the past and ongoing work related to the oceans, I feel incredibly excited about our newest Temboan project. Here we show how the land condition and the coastal waters are intricately connected. By excluding artificial fertilizers and pesticides in our degraded land restoration and improving productivity through agroforestry, we create sustainable jobs, healthy food production, and carbon dioxide sequestration. We also prevent the ever-expanding death zones in the oceans and maintain the enormous underwater biodiversity in the coral reefs.

Through our work on the land in Temboan, Masarang supports all the ecosystems above, from mangroves and nipah palm forests to coral reefs and seagrass beds. All of them essential to protect our coasts and contributing to reducing the impacts of climate change!

World Ocean Day, Temboan Beach World Ocean Day, Seagrass, Temboan Beach

Oceans cover 71% of the world. These oceans provide food, generate oxygen, regulate our climate, and so much more. Almost all that matters starts from the small coastal zones where coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass are found and where we as Masarang Foundation do our part to ensure a better future that benefits people and our planet. There are so many special days but what matters is how things are connected. And that is what Masarang is about, integration. If you pull on any single string in nature, you will always find that everything else is connected to that. As I often say, nature knows best, and we need to learn from nature if we want to safeguard this beautiful planet for all those that will follow us.

Willie Smits

June 8, 2021

North Sulawesi, Indonesia