On September 17, Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (South Africa) housed WNICBR meeting, during which the Commander Islands Biosphere Reserve spoke about the joint project with Aleut Municipal District called Green Commander Islands.
Within the framework of the IX meeting, Anastasia Barsukova shared the successes and challenges we face today and accumulated the most interesting methods and approaches from all over the world.
We believe it was important to share Green Commander Islands project and find out what other professionals from different biosphere reserves think about it, how they solved the challenges of recycling and waste management, if local community supported the changes and what they managed to accomplish.
Green Commander Islands is a relatively young project but we already see that some people in Nikolskoye Village are very partial to the ideas of conservation of natural heritage. They are ready to introduce waste sorting and search for solutions together with the nature reserve and Aleut Municipal District Administration. One of the goals of this project is to promote responsible thinking in local community. That is why in the visitor center we created our permanent Waste Museum exposition this summer dedicated to pollution of the World Ocean.
Local species of South Africa. Photo by Anastasia Barsukova
Representatives of island and coastal biosphere reserves from South Africa, Spain, Republic of Korea, Japan, Germany, Australia, Maldives and Cuba took part in the meeting. The annual meetings of the network give the members the possibility to share information and support each other in search solutions in common situations.
For example, many participants spoke about macro and micro plastic pollution. Understanding the scale of the problem, the team of Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve in Basque Country shared this issue with local people. They turned out to be surprisingly partial and some of them were eager enough to create a device to grind plastic waste into small pieces and then to transform into plastic fiber, which may be used for production of new objects.
They found the blueprint on the Internet and started the creation of this mini-factory. Today it is in full power and can be transported to different towns in the region, as it demonstrates how much the team has achieved. They even organized a festival, a kind of a Waste Fest, which gathered hundreds of people and attracted local musicians, who sang about their love for nature. During this festival everyone could discover new facts about how plastic travels via ocean currents, how to find microplastic in your local sand and how to build a plastic home.
Miguel Clüsener-Godt, Director of MAB program, underlined in his closing speech the fact that effective cooperation between the members of the network is crucial, as island and coastal biosphere reserves are the first to face climate change and its consequences. It seems that the islanders may find the first solutions of how to adapt to the changing world.
The Commander Islands Biosphere Reserve is very grateful to the organizers of this event and is happy to be a part of the big family of MAB programme biosphere reserves.