Every four years the IUCN holds a World Conservation Congress, and Hawaii is hosting this major environmental conservation event beginning today through the 10th. Our Navy here is participating in the event to help show the world how it promotes environmental stewardship in Hawaii and beyond.
Here to tell us about those efforts as well as their part in this conference is Pacific Fleet Environmental Protection Specialist Cory Scott, and Rebecca Smith, Natural Resources Manager for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Q1: “Cory , I understand right after this interview you’ll be heading over to the conference at the Convention Center. How important is this venue to the Navy?”
. This is the world’s largest recurring conservation event in the world and this is the first time it has occurred in the United States. This conference presents a global audience focused on conservation
. With our booth space and presentations, we can share the amazing work done through our efforts, and more importantly, through our partnerships in the community and with other agencies
Q2: “What did you bring to show us?”
. (Cory) Well I work for the Fleet, so I thought I should bring something from a ship.
. We recognize the impact of plastics in the ocean environment, so while at sea, we hold on to our plastic waste. To conserve space, we have a machine that condenses plastic waste into these large pucks so that we can store them until being properly disposed when the ship returns to port
Q3: “Hi Rebecca. A moment ago Cory mentioned community partnerships. What are some examples of the Navy working along with the community?
. There are a number of partnership efforts, but one of my favorites is the restoration of a fishpond at Pearl Harbor. The Navy contracted a company, Pono Pacific, to clear the extensive mangrove growth on and over this fishpond. Now, together with Hawaiian cultural practitioners, youth groups and Navy volunteers, we maintain and improve that cleared area, replace invasive plants with native vegetation, and benefit from cultural and historical lessons from the community. “
. Another of my favorites is the Laysan Albatross program that started on Kauai, but has also expanded to the James Campbell Refuge near Kahuku. Albatross eggs and chicks from the Navy installation on Kauai are moved to nests on the north shore of Kauai as well as Oahu. This effort requires many partnerships to be successful, but the most amazing part to me as a biologist, is that there is almost a 100 percent adoption rate for those transported eggs and chicks and for the adults to adapt to their new surroundings.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN World Conservation Congress has grown to be the world’s largest recurring conservation event in the world. It has two parts: a marketplace of ideas called the Forum and a voting session for IUCN Members called the Members’ Assembly.
The event can include Heads of State and other high-level government officials, top CEOs and business leaders, representatives from indigenous groups, civil society organizations, top scientists, academics, educators and artists from all over the world. Between 6,000-10,000 are expected to attend.
The Forum (2-5 September) is a large knowledge marketplace for conservation and sustainable development science, practice and innovation with over 600 sessions addressing a wide range of issues. It is open to the public and a great place to learn, share, network and influence.