What Are We Doing?

“We need to change the way people see science and scientists. Innovation is often created by understanding something no one else does, fringe ideas or actors are not playing by the rules.”  –Josiah Zayner PhD The Odin


What are we doing?

At Marine Conservation without Borders, our priority is making marine science concepts and principles of conservation relevant and accessible to the people who use and derive livelihoods from the marine environment. The projects in which we engage make it real for local folks by delivering scientific messages in local languages using both local and scientific taxonomic descriptions. We look beyond the national borders laid across these shared resources and environments to consider ecosystems in their whole within nations and between them. Each project will be marked with recognizable local voices in languages spoken by partner communities and their local audiences.

Our goal is to overcome cultural and linguistic boundaries by “putting things in local terms”. Using locally appropriate languages will increase the likelihood of messages to take hold, having an impact across nations and communities throughout the Caribbean. The generous contributions of our collaborators will undoubtedly return equally significant and valuable results for the people and marine ecologies in the Caribbean and around the world.

Our flagship and initial program is comprised of several smaller projects focused on building marine conservation educational instruments with locally defined methods and languages: Treasures of the Caribbean.  Each of the Treasures projects is developed as a standalone “chapter”, a component of a larger curriculum organized around a collection of species and ecosystems of the greater Caribbean basin marine environment. Each nation, community, and village owns, uses, and builds livelihoods from a slice of this regional ecosphere. We aim to show its entirety to the myriad constituent communities in each’s locally relevant language. As the program matures it will be repackaged for new and expanding uses in additional cultural geographies and media forms.

As the inaugural program of Marine Conservation without Borders, the Treasures collection relates lessons and messages of conservation as a multi-language, multi-cultural marine science educational resource. Every chapter is a project of sorts, with specific local geographic, linguistic, and topical foci. Apart from positive impacts derived from instilling the values and behaviors important to promote marine conservation and sustainability, MCwB also aims to promote cultural and language preservation.

The target audiences for this series of linguistically relevant books are the communities of the greater Caribbean basin and others with interest in marine resource and linguistic conservation.  Written in locally appropriate languages from across the Caribbean region, each chapter presents a home “country” and a “language” voice.  This tailoring is designed to promote accessibility with locally translated and relevant languages and examples. The communities represented have rich histories and traditions, but as is common in rural, sometimes marginalized, segments of modern nation states these languages and histories are infrequently recorded in writing.

One powerful contribution of the Treasures series is to build, and in some cases start, the production of marine science and conservation educational material in the languages and for the communities where little or none of this type of printed material has existed.  Of particular note are versions for the Americas that feature Yucateca, Kriol, Garifuna, Miskitu, Guna Yala and Weyuu to name a few, respectively, among the first and few marine science and conservation focused educational publications in these languages.

Thomas Dean King, PhD – Marine Conservation without Borders