Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Rare’s mission is to conserve imperiled species and ecosystems around the world by inspiring people to care about and protect nature".

Once again this past week Saipan's coalition of conservation minded individuals and organizations came together in an effort to protect our environmental assets for generations to come. Last week DEQ and the Nature Conservancy lead the way with Conservation Action Planning for a specific area of the island, Lau Lau Bay.
This time it was Brooke Nevitt and CRM leading the charge by bringing the Rare Pride campaign to our shores. Basically, in a nut shell, what this program attempts to do is raise awareness of environmental issues while helping to facilitate the behavioral change necessary to address those issues.

From their website....

Rare’s approach has been to develop a suite of social marketing and business development tools that motivate local communities to protect their natural surroundings. Rare’s signature Pride campaign builds grassroots support for environmental protection by training local conservation leaders in the use of commercial marketing tactics to build awareness, influence attitudes, and enable meaningful change. Pride campaigns produce a groundswell of support that leads to tangible conservation successes, such as new national parks, reform legislation, or reduction of threats from forest fires or over-fishing.

This campaign will focus on the CNMI's coral reefs. One aspect of the program is to determine and develop a mascot that will help spread the message of conservation and get people to rally behind the cause. The idea being that a flagship creature people recognize and identify with will inspire them to retain and promote the message and therefore extend the protection to other lesser known creatures and ecosystems.

The idea is that we need to identify and deal with the issues threatening the reefs as well as motivate people to take action. In general however, coral is not so sexy or exciting. It doesn't move, or smile at you like a dolphin. It's there and it's important but it normally does not instill any type of emotion in the casual observer unlike Nemo or some other loveable creature.

So once Brooke and community stake holders have an opportunity to put together the plan we will be asked to identify a creature we think is most appropriate to represent the mascot and motivate others to protect our reefs.

Pictured above is Reina Camacho of DEQ furiously trying to take notes and vote in my online poll all at the same time.

Which marine creature do you think the community will rally behind and therefore most effectively help raise awareness and save our reefs?

In upcoming posts I'll discuss each creature and give you my perspective but first I want to hear from you!

Vote now! Or leave a comment if you think of another one not yet mentioned in the poll!

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