How I do love that St Helena now has the capacity to host International Conferences. Thanks to our weekly flights and even 2 flights a week during our peak season (which is now basically) - we've got 52 guest speakers from 5 South Atlantic Islands and 10 countries right now on island telling us about the work they have done around the theme of this year's Conference is entitled 'Natural Capital.'
Now, just in case those frown lines appeared when I mentioned the term 'Natural Capital' like it did for me, here's the official definition that might helps those lines disappear:
'Natural capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. It is from this natural capital that humans derive a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services, which make human life possible.' (https://naturalcapitalforum.com/about)
Well as I sat there this morning listening to the Speakers, I was very proud and a bit flabbergasted at exactly how much work is going on in and around St Helena - some of it right under my nose & I didn't really know much about it...to my admitted shame.
For example, in addition to the whale shark studies (this year they're focusing on research into how deep Whale sharks visiting St Helena actually dive); we have lobster studies (looking at whether this is a potential fishery market); plastic pollution studies (analysing the debris that washes up on our shores - which doesn't even come from St Helena...yet we're left dealing with the outside worlds problems) and much, much, more. And that was just a small piece of what was covered in the AM session of today's conference.
I was particularly proud of our St Helena Marine Team who actually ran out of time during their talk due to having achieved so much over the last year - so a big shout out to our SHNT Marine Team seen above (Beth, Kenickie, Jamie, Luke). I think I will dedicate a future post to the work they have done so far as it deserves a bigger shout-out. Watch this space.
It was fantastic to see some of our young people attending the conference and asking very meaningful questions that help to inform their knowledge about their island as they will ultimately become the leaders off it. They could confidently tell you that it is important to conserve St Helena's marine environment so that they can continue to fish, swim and enjoy our ocean for years to come. They are also very well-versed in the phenomenon of the plastic pollution. Very impressive!
Well I really could go on about this morning's conference but what I was really struck by was the amount of work going on by people who are driven by a common goal to create a sustainable natural capital and bringing benefits to the local people who should be at the heart of the policies.
Currently St Helena has shown it's making a commitment to doing exactly that.
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