Category Archives: Activities

Launching Youth Biodiversity Heroes GYBN Project

On this year’s World Day of Social Justice, GYBN LAC is launching the trailer for its project, the Youth Biodiversity Heroes!


Biodiversity is under threat in some of the regions with the biggest diversity of species and cultures. In these places, anonymous environmental defenders protect biodiversity and human rights using the best of their capacity and sometimes very limited resources.
Youth Biodiversity Heroes is a project that seeks to share stories of young indigenous and peasants on the defense of the territory and the conservation of biodiversity and youth advocates for indigenous rights.
The stories will be collected in video clips in order to visualize the experiences from the Biodiversity Heroes and spread these through social media and during relevant events. The goal is to inspire more young people around the world to take action against biodiversity loss and in the fight for social justice. We also want decision makers to understand the scope of the biodiversity and human rights crisis in some of the most threatened regions in the planet.

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GYBN Communities celebrating the World Wetland Day 2018

 We are very excited to share with you photos of GYBN members across the globe showcasing the wetlands they love on the this World Wetland Day. 
The World Wetland Day is celebrated every year on 2nd February and this year’s theme is Urban wetlands: prized land, not wasteland.

As cities expand and demand land increases, the tendency is to encroach on wetlands. They are degraded, filled in and built upon, yet when left intact or restored, urban wetlands make cities livable (Check out the infographics below).  


〰See how young people are taking action to play their part in saving the wetlands! 📢〰
Tuni-Condoriri Andean Mountain Range, Bolivia
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  Why I care about this wetland? Although this is not an urban wetland, the water of the city of La Paz-Bolivia depends of this wetlands to help conserve and keep the glaciers of the Tuni-Condoriri system which is the main system of water distribution for one of the highest cities in the planet.

Picture: Carmen Capriles/Reacción Climática

 

Lake Olbolosat, Kenya

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Lake Olbolosat in Central Kenya.  The guest of honor for the event was Mr. Najib Balala, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism.
Why I care about wetlands? They are home to biodiversity, which may not be on the endangered list, but as we encroach them, we risk losing those species.
Social-economically, they are viable for tourism which employs a lot of local people through activities such as boat rowing for profit.

 

Macoun Marsh, Ottawa, CANADA
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Macoun Marsh, Ottawa, CANADA
Located in the southeast section of Beechwood Cemetery, the Macoun Marsh is a unique urban wetland named after John Macoun, a pioneering Canadian naturalist buried at Beechwood. To date, over 1,400 wildlife species have been recorded at Macoun Marsh.
The magnetic attraction of the Marsh as a unique teaching tool started in earnest in 2004. Led by science teacher Michael Léveillé, students attending the St. Laurent Academy and Jean Vanier Catholic School began to visit, photograph and document the many natural wonders of the Marsh. In so doing they not only captured local attention but the notice of the international community.
Pinegrove Productions created an educational film about the Marsh, and the Marsh spawned a number of biodiversity-related high-profile projects and events. Students from St Laurent Academy have visited various countries, including Sweden and Japan, where they have promoted the Marsh and the importance of preserving biodiversity.
Dekar Haor wetland, Bangladesh 
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Urban wetland Bogota, Colombia
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Jaboque Wetland, Bogotá – Colombia.
Jaboque wetland is the second important ecosystem and one of the biggest wetlands in Bogotá. Its name means land of abundance in Chibcha and it has been considered an ancestral place, where the Muiscas lived a thousand years ago. Sadly, this ecosystem has been distroyed by the people that live nearly and in my view this situation affected the way that Jaboque Wetland worked. First, because this wetland has been impacted by settlements and it is used like a waste dump, and secondly because some endemic animals have been disappearing due to some people doing ilegal trafic of animals in order to earn money easier.
Wetland Colombia 

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Colombia. Wetlands are important places for water birds and crocodiles, without them, these creatures would have very few places to live. Save the wetlands.- Alejandra Echeverri 

 

Quetenas, Sud Lipez- Bolivia   

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                                                              Quetenas, Sud Lipez- Bolivia                                                       
 Why I care about this wetland? The small communities of indigenous peoples in Quetena Grande and Quetena Chico in Sud Lipez- Bolivia, depend on the peat bogs, wetlands that offer food to the camelids that are the main source of income for these families. Sadly, these peat bogs are drying up because of climate change and the mining activities that have a direct impact on the water supply for these ecosystems. I have been studying the biodiversity in these wetlands and documenting traditional techniques for their restoration as an adaptation measure to climate change as part of my bachelor’s thesis. 

Picture: Mirna Fernández

Lake view park, Islamabad, Pakistan 

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 Akanyaru wetland, Rwanda

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Akanyaru wetland, Rwanda
Akanyaru wetlands are located in the south of Rwanda on the international border with Burundi. These are important in terms of local community welfare of about 100,000 people; providing goods and services to the local community such as improved ecological conditions like clean air, water, agriculture productivity, fish, traditional medicine, a source of handcrafting among others. Also, it is home of endangered bird species including Madagascar Pond Heron, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, and the “Statunga”, Papyrus provide shelter of blue monkeys and snakes, whereas waterways host hippopotamus, crocodiles, and fishes.
However, it is seriously threatened by invasive species such as water hyacinth, anthropogenic activities resulting from pressures from increasing population like agricultural, hunting, burning, extraction of vegetation, uncontrolled fishing, and others, as natural phenomenon. Therefore, there is a need for enhancing it’s sustainable conservation.

Three takeaways from the Global Youth Biodiversity Network’s Asia Capacity Building Workshop

By Mohammad Arju, Bangladesh

Hello people, who are reading this post, please be informed that on May 27 we’ve just wrapped up one of the most important events in Asia this year. I know, most of you never heard of it, but don’t be surprised; we know, relying on mainstream media as the only source of information has its own limitation- in many cases, the media fails to report on real important things.

So, please let me convince you about how the recently held Global Youth Biodiversity Network’s Asia Capacity Building Workshop will shape the future of Asia and the Ocean planet.

THE HOMEWORK

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One of my fellow participants at the workshop, Naseem Sultani from Afghanistan already written about it; the week-long workshop held in Singapore (with generous support from Singapore’s National Parks Board and Japan Biodiversity Fund) had a wide range of participants from the Central, South, Southeast, West and East Asia, and all of them are back to their home countries with a very specific homework. And the homework is not just about same-old-same-old romantic environmentalism about biodiversity; it is not about photogenic environmentalism of just holding another conference. The organizers were very clear about it, and this policy position was well reflected in all of the training sessions of the workshop (See the Schedule: PDF File).

The workshop was designed to train the youth leaders in real down-to-earth efforts for utilizing the already available multi-national process and mechanism (Convention on Biological Diversity, for example) on local, national and regional level to minimize the impact of market-economy on the diversity of life our planet hosts, and eventually help the governments in successful drafting and implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Goals.

With this homework, the trained participants are out, therefore, more learning and real work, in their respective countries.

Using ‘System Thinking’ approach, they’ve built a scenario of current status and identified best possible leveraged to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in Asia as a youth group. They’ve conceptualized several programs for the coming years to establish ASEAN and South and Central Asian sub-regional networks, to build a knowledge network, and to run a grassroots conservation program through Participatory Action Research led by youth organizations and fellows. In the coming months; they will design, develop and start implementing the programs.

So, in a brief, with the goal to secure more diversity of life on the planet, this workshop just deployed a team of well-trained youth leaders in the field to take part in political and decision-making processes at local, national, regional and international levels. The team’s work will certainly help the national governments in Asia to bring sustainability in the development process, also achieve many targets of the Sustainable Development Goals in the process and reconnecting the people with nature.

THE STRENGTH

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In these times of growth-hungry economy devastating the people and the planet, being a conservationist means you are engaged in really down-to-earth activities to reverse the process. The Convention of Biological Diversity’s stated role is to ‘prevent and attack the causes of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity at source’, you know it. And it’s not easy, rather daunting, oftentimes exhaustive too. But this workshop was a forum where we met the people face to face who are building their lives around this daunting task, it was really comforting.

Even in places like Singapore, where the economic violence affected the social-ecological systems severely, things have started to change, we’ve met several groups of people who are working for reconnecting people with nature. Even within such an extremely modified landscape, as a result of orchestrated efforts by government authorities and citizen-science groups like Otter-Watch and NUS Toddycats, the Singapore River is now hosting at least two large families of the smooth-coated otter. We’re aware that, there is no final victory in conservation, there will not be, but this sort of conservation-optimism story once again shows us the way.

And, it’s not just that, you listen to others’ stories, experience, and observation or go visit successful conservation initiative, which in some ways, or in many ways may be reasons to you, inform you about how people around the continent is bringing positive change for the conservation of biodiversity. One of the most important parts, for me, at the workshop was, I’ve learned a lot while articulating mine to others. Also, can sense that other participants were also re-discovering themselves by explaining their experience and ideas to others.

So, it is about self-motivation, as one of my fellow participants, Xu Waiting from Singapore was saying during their group presentation; ‘It’s the self-motivation what keeps you running to achieve what you believe in.’

WE THE PEOPLE

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The most important aspect of the forum was, I should say, together, we can now think of ourselves as a people, the people for advancing conservation in Asia. By taking parts in a number of self-organizing tasks (System Thinking, Project Concept Developing for example), through the process of feedback and evaluation, we’ve already started to work collaboratively.

As a team, now we know about our internal resources, strength, expertise we can offer to each other; and we have already come up with concepts about how to get easier access to this team and keep collaborating.

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A conservationist and journalist based in Bangladesh, Md Kutub Uddin (Mohammad Arju) is a Trustee of Save Our Sea.

Email: arju@saveoursea.social