The ocean is the lifeblood of our planet, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the Solomon Islands. It’s shimmering turquoise waters are not just a sight to behold; they are the heart of communities, the backbone of economies, and the last frontier of unexplored biological diversity. Yet they are also under grave threat.
Dr. Transform Aqorau, Vice Chancellor of Solomon Islands National University, is a leading expert on marine conservation. He believes that the youth have a critical role to play in protecting the ocean.
“The ocean’s issues are our issues,” Dr. Aqorau says. “As the next generation, we have the power and the responsibility to make a difference.”
Dr. Aqorau has seen firsthand the impact that young people can have on marine conservation. He believes that young people can make a difference in a number of ways:
Get Educated about the Issues:
To be effective stewards of the ocean, young people must first grasp the complexities of the challenges it confronts and the available solutions. Knowledge emerges as their most potent weapon, attainable through formal education, online resources, and community workshops.
Get Involved in Conservation Projects:
Numerous pathways await young enthusiasts eager to engage in marine conservation. They can contribute their time and talents through volunteer work for local organizations, embark on self-initiated projects, or passionately advocate for policy reforms that shield the ocean’s treasures.
Use Their Voices to Raise Awareness:
In the digital age, the voices of young people resound far and wide. They harness the power of social media, blogs, and other communication channels to amplify awareness of marine conservation issues. Beyond the virtual realm, they craft letters addressed to elected officials and conscientious businesses that tread upon the ocean’s fragile ecosystems.
On the other hand, Dr. Transform has shared unseen opportunities with young people. He said that while challenges abound, so do opportunities:
Aquaculture: There’s a tremendous opportunity in the field of aquaculture for sustainable fish farming, providing jobs while also alleviating the pressure on wild fish stocks.
Eco-Tourism: With its stunning marine biodiversity, the Solomon Islands have the potential to become a hotspot for eco-friendly tourism.
Marine Research: Being at the frontline of climate change, the Islands offer a living laboratory for studying impacts on marine ecosystems.
Dr. Aqorau’s optimism shines brightly as he contemplates the future of marine conservation in the Solomon Islands. He firmly believes that the youth are the cornerstone in building a sustainable future for the ocean.
“The youth are our hope,” he said. “They are the torchbearers who will inherit the ocean, and they are the architects of change. If you are a young person in the Solomon Islands, you hold the power to shape the destiny of our oceans. Arm yourself with knowledge, engage actively, and let your voice to raise awareness. Together, we can protect the ocean, securing its splendour for generations yet to come.”
But the Solomon Islands are not alone in this endeavor. The entire Pacific region boasts an astonishing treasure trove of marine biodiversity, a treasure valued at a staggering US$2.5 trillion annually. This biodiversity fuels a multitude of benefits, including food security, economic prosperity, coastal resilience, and profound cultural significance.
However, the Pacific region faces the dual challenge of climate change, standing as one of the most vulnerable regions to its impacts. The future hinges on strategic collaborations between local and international organizations, working hand in hand to safeguard these priceless resources.
In unity, driven by passion and knowledge, the youth of the Solomon Islands and the Pacific region are poised to become the architects of a resilient future for the ocean—one that ensures its bounty continues to nourish the generations that follow.
Story by Beyond The Lens
Beyond The Lens is a vibrant platform dedicated to advocating for youth issues. Our mission is to empower young people, amplify their voices, and drive positive change throughout the Solomon Islands using the power of online media.