Six leading international environmentalists are in The Bahamas today to witness firsthand the state of marine life in a country known for the beauty of its turquoise seas. United by their desire to preserve and protect the Bahamian environment, the group includes, among others, the recipient of a U.S. presidential award for environmental conservation and prominent scientists committed to the survival of sea turtles.
Hosting the group is Save The Bays, a growing environmental movement comprised of Bahamian and international members dedicated to protecting the Bahamian environment through proactive policy change, education, legal action and advocacy. Save The Bays aims to unite stakeholders and combat the environmental threats currently jeopardizing the nation’s unique marine environment.
“Having such experienced and committed conservationists survey the various threats to our marine environments points to the increased international attention that is being focused on The Bahamas,” said Save The Bays CEO Lindsey McCoy. “These international conservationists recognize the critical importance of safeguarding the Bahamian environment, and we are honored they are taking the time out of their busy schedules to share their perspectives and expertise on how to protect our magnificent resources.”
Many of the attendees are members of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a global movement of 220 local “Keepers” that fight to stop polluters, protect their chosen waterways and champion clean water as a fundamental human right. The delegation includes Rachel Silverstein, Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, Gabrielle Parent-Doliner, swim guides affiliate at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Archie Carr, who works for the Sea Turtle Conservancy, and Marydele Donnelly, also of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, Sharon Khan, Waterkeeper Alliance International Director, and Alex Matthiessen, former CEO and President of Hudson Riverkeeper, the original “Waterkeeper” and New York’s leading clean water advocate. As a special assistant at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Matthiessen received a Presidential Award for his work using America’s national parks to showcase, for millions of visitors each year, the home-scale application of renewable energy and energy efficiency. In addition to McCoy, local Save The Bays participants include directors Joseph Darville and Fred Smith, QC.
“This is a great opportunity to learn from experts who have turned their passion for protection of the world’s waters into viable volunteerism,” said Darville. “We have the most beautiful waters in the world and we are now in the process of organizing ongoing monitoring, a very ambitious goal, so our eyes and ears will be wide open to hear and benefit from what others have been doing in their parts of the world and providing advice for how we can best move forward with developing monitoring methods, schedules, a roster of volunteers, boats, recording and reporting equipment.”
The Bahamas Waterkeeper visit runs from July 29-31 and includes one Family Island visit.