WASHINGTON (Nov. 16, 2011)—Rare, an organization using social marketing to advance conservation with local communities, in partnership with National Geographic, has named the 10 finalists for the first-ever global Solution Search contest. “Turning the Tide for Coastal Fisheries” sought applications from organizations worldwide that could demonstrate proven innovations to benefit coastal communities and marine ecosystems. More than 100 entries were submitted from 48 countries, and the public is now invited to select the top three and award the U.S. $20,000 grand prize to the overall winner.
Solution Search is an innovative online platform dedicated to finding proven community-based solutions for global environmental issues.
Solutions that were submitted for the contest include implementation of no-take zones, introduction of innovative fishing gear and the development of alternative livelihoods. Submissions came from across the globe, including Indonesia, Madagascar, Brazil and Turkey.
“For too long the conservation community has focused on problems, but there are a lot of working solutions in remote parts of the planet,” said Brett Jenks, president and CEO of Rare. “Local communities are the research and development labs of conservation. We have to find what’s working and make it available where it’s needed. We are excited for the public to be engaged in this process because, in the end, it’s their ocean.”
A panel of seven judges selected the 10 finalists, and starting today, the public can vote for the winner at www.solutionsearch.org. The entry that receives the most votes will be declared the grand-prize winner and be awarded a U.S.$20,000 project grant and a video on National Geographic’s Ocean website. Two runners-up will each receive a U.S.$5,000 project grant. The winners will be announced on Jan. 6, 2012.
“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.”
Platform sponsors are the Goldring Family Foundation and the Barr Foundation. Judges for the “Turning the Tide for Coastal Fisheries” contest are Steve Gaines, professor of ecology, evolution and marine biology, and director of the Marine Science Institute at the University of California at Santa Barbara; Carl Safina, president of the Blue Ocean Institute; Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the Convention of Biological Diversity; Eileen de Ravin, program manager of the Equator Initiative at the United Nations Development Programme; Enric Sala, marine ecologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence; Monique Barbut, CEO and chairperson of the Global Environment Facility; and Nicolas Gutiérrez, fisheries scientist with the Marine Stewardship Council.
The public is encouraged to visit www.solutionsearch.org from Nov. 16 to Dec. 24, 2011, to vote for the solution they think is most likely to turn the tide for coastal fisheries.
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 who live in and around the world’s areas of highest biodiversity. Based in Arlington, Va., with offices in Mexico, China and Indonesia, 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 33 local-language editions, is read by more than 60 million people each month. The National Geographic Channel reaches more than 380 million households in 37 languages in 163 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.