Coastal Awareness Week 2016

This week (22nd-27th February) is Coastal Awareness Week, hosted by the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI). The 2016 theme is: “The coast is ours, let’s climate proof it!” Climate change is a global problem, but poses a particular threat to coastal communities in Belize. TIDE has been working to help these communities prepare for its impacts and through participation in the CZMAI’s week of events we hope to further spread public awareness and explore climate adaptation strategies.

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Past outreach efforts with local school children

The purpose of TIDE’s research and monitoring projects is to preserve the health and productivity of Toledo’s natural resources, which in turn strengthen ecosystem and community resilience to the impacts of climate change. TIDE’s integrated Water Quality Monitoring Program in particular is exploring the effects that changes on land and in the sea have on coastal ecosystems and the health of Southern Belize’s water systems. Understanding such relationships will play a critical role in predicting how climate change will impact coastal ecosystems and resources, the first step towards climate change preparation and adaptation.

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Using data from TIDE’s Water Quality Monitoring Program, we map out water conditions, like temperature in this map, to help visualize the relationship between land and sea

While TIDE’s Research and Monitoring team holds the science front, our Education and Outreach team is on the ground in local communities, applying the science to adaptation strategies. Last year, TIDE held a Community-Based Climate Change Adaptation workshop to help communities educate their members on climate change and begin to prepare adaptation efforts. TIDE’s Education and Outreach Director Mr. Norman Budna also worked directly with community members in Monkey River (identified as particularly vulnerable to climate change effects) to begin developing a Local Early Action Plan (LEAP) for the village. TIDE’s ongoing research and monitoring efforts help to inform strategic planning and sustainable management of resources so Toledo’s communities can stand strong in the face of climate change.

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Representatives from several communities across Belize work together at TIDE headquarters during the Community-Based Climate Change Adaptation workshop

During Coastal Awareness Week, TIDE will hold a booth at the Coastal Informational Fair at Ecumenical High School Auditorium in Dangriga Town on Thursday February 25th to share information about our research and monitoring efforts, improving community resilience through sustainable management of resources and planning for climate change. For updates on the event follow TIDE’s Facebook page and visit CZMAI’s Facebook page to see what other events are planned for the week.

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