The lighthouse keeps ships away from danger and helps them navigate toward their destinations. Lighthouses proclaim local conditions to mariners from everywhere. Similarly, these "Lighthouse Projects" are local initiatives that document and renew local knowledge, skills, and values associated with the marine environment.
These initiatives, achieved by small organizations and individuals worldwide, show great variety. Some are science-based; some connect to cultural traditions. All rely upon community participation, exchange between generations, and the synergies among science, humanities, arts, social advancement, and sustainable development.
In this section, we showcase and applaud the efforts of small groups around the world who are working to address ocean-related issues that affect them locally. Other examples can be found within this site by visiting UNESCO.
Conservation & Cleanup
A Brazilian photographer spent days walking Brazil's North Coast and shares his findings about the flotsam he collected.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxins and waste empty from Mississippi River and its tributaries straight into the Gulf of Mexico each year. When calls to every state agency asking for cleanup went unanswered, Chad Pregracke began picking up trash. In its first season, Living Lands & Waters removed 45,000 pounds of detritus from the shores of the Mississippi. In 1997, a local newspaper came to do a story on a young Chad Pregracke’s work and the article was quickly picked up by the Associated Press. Before long many of the major networks came to do a story on the young man who said he was going to clean up the Mississippi River. Since those early years, Living Lands, Living Waters has made great strides to empower communities, raise awareness of river pollution, and spark grassroots efforts with young people around the country. In 2008 alone, with an increased awareness of of the potential for global marine destruction originating from our rivers, LL&W removed approximately 302 tons of debris with the help of over 3,830 volunteers at 62 community-based river cleanups.Read more about LL&W's accomplishments and how you can get involved.
GP2 is tackling the issue of the growing gyres of plastic in our world ocean. As has become abundantly clear on the world stage, there are floating, swirling masses of plastic waste the size of the state of Texas in multiple areas of our oceans. GP2, with the help of corporate, individual, and foundation support are setting out to raise awareness and to clean up the gyre in the Pacific. The mission of the GP2 Project is two-pronged: 1) To clean up the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” and (2) To create a healthy and vibrant Planet and Oceans right now.
TLF embodies the idea of thinking globally and acting locally: it enables local projects on behalf of the seas and oceans of the world, and emphasizes the oceans’ importance to all levels of life.
The World Oceans Map is part of the exemplary work of the Lighthouse Foundation. It explores the world's oceans through through oceanography, geography, fisheries, and historical information; links to relevant web sites, a physical description and satellite images of each ocean.
The 700 people of Indonesia's Deer village in Raja Ampat (in the heart of the most biodiverse marine area in the world, the Coral Triangle) rely on the sea as their most important source of food and income. While communities have traditional knowledge of their resources, the complexities of how marine ecosystems actually work remains a mystery to most of Deer's population — especially the link between fisheries and healthy coral reefs. The Nature Conservancy in Indonesia is working to help the residents of Deer and other villages in the Raja Ampat Islands understand the marine resources upon which they depend — and to increase their involvement in managing them.
Mangrove Restoration & Ecology
The original mangrove forests along the Indian coastline have almost completely disappeared as a result of logging. This is the case on the coastline of Tamil Nadu - the "land of temples" - in Southern India, an area that has also been severely affected by the Sumatra tsunami. Mangroves offer natural protection against the force of sea surges, and coasts with intact mangrove forests suffered far less destruction when the tsunami hit.
In Keezhathottam on the Agni River, large areas are to be replanted with native mangrove species in a project headed by certified biologist Vedharajan Balaji. Today in the south, only around 700 ha of the original 6000 ha of mangrove forests remain. A first area for a mangrove tree nursery has now been identified at Palk Bay. An information centre is currently being set up and a night school is teaching people about the project's aims and opportunities.
In the Canary Islands, the connection between myth and marine is explored through music, as Canarians and outsiders alike discover to their delight.
East African fishers' traditional customs and religious beliefs aid in improving fisheries management.
The Global Islands Network represents a hub that connects and coordinates efforts to help ensure a healthy and productive future for islanders.