WASHINGTON. (Sept. 13, 2011) – Today, Rare, in partnership with National Geographic, launched an innovative online platform dedicated to finding proven community-based solutions for marine conservation. The platform, Solution Search, is holding its first contest, “Turning the Tide for Coastal Fisheries,” and seeks applications from organizations worldwide that can demonstrate proven innovations that benefit coastal communities and marine ecosystems.
“For too long the conservation community has focused on problems,” says Brett Jenks, president and CEO of Rare. “But there are a lot of working solutions in remote parts of the planet. Local communities are the R&D labs of conservation. We have to find what’s working and make it available where it’s needed.”
Through Solution Search, Rare and National Geographic are casting a wide net to find community based solutions for near-shore fisheries. Starting today, applicants can submit their entries and view other submissions at www.solutionsearch.org. Ten finalists will be selected by a panel of esteemed judges, and the public will vote for the winning solution in December. The winner will be featured in a video on National Geographic’s Ocean website, receive a $20,000 grant and have the chance to help replicate their solution around the world.
“Discovering and sharing solutions that restore marine life and human communities is key to changing the broader world of fishing and seafood,” said Miguel A. Jorge, director of National Geographic’s Ocean Initiative. “By telling the stories of these win-win innovations, we hope to inspire more people and communities to transform their relationship with the ocean.”
Overfishing is an environmental crisis that is quickly becoming a humanitarian issue. More than a million known species live in the oceans, over 1 billion people rely on fish as their main protein source, and 98 percent of the world’s 50 million fishers are near-shore artisanal fishers. Rare sees a conservation opportunity with local fisheries where people can manage their local economies while at the same time protect food security and biodiversity. And the people who are most at risk – local fishers and their families – are already pioneering innovative approaches to sustain their livelihoods.
Platform sponsors are the Goldring Family Foundation and the Barr Foundation.
The public is encouraged to check www.solutionsearch.org from Nov. 16, 2011, to Dec. 24, 2011, to vote for the solution they think is most likely to turn the tide on coastal fisheries.
Rare is an international environmental organization committed to conservation programs that benefit both people and nature. Rare recognizes that conservation ultimately comes down to people. So, conservationists must become as skilled in social change as in science. Rare specializes in designing and implementing social marketing campaigns to change behaviors of people that live in and around the world’s areas of highest biodiversity. Rare searches the globe for replicable, sustainable environmental success stories and then trains local conservation leaders to develop and market those proven practices in order to protect imperiled species without compromising basic human needs. www.rareconservation.org.
About National Geographic
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. National Geographic reflects the world through its magazines, television programs, films, music and radio, books, DVDs, maps, exhibitions, live events, school publishing programs, interactive media and merchandise. National Geographic magazine, the Society’s official journal, published in English and 32 local-language editions, is read by more than 60 million people each month. The National Geographic Channel reaches 370 million households in 34 languages in 168 countries. National Geographic Digital Media receives more than 15 million visitors a month. National Geographic has funded more than 9,600 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geography literacy. www.nationalgeographic.com