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Climate justice means protecting the future of fish

Boats arranged on the beach in Paita, Peru. Photo courtesy of Future of Fish.

By Kelly Pendergrast, Communications Consultant at Future of Fish

Boats arranged on the beach in Paita, Peru. Photo courtesy of Future of Fish.

Billions of people depend on fish as a critical source of protein. From lobster divers in Belize to handline mahi-mahi fishers in Peru, communities around the world feed themselves and make a living from the fish they pull from the ocean every day. But these livelihoods are under threat. Climate change is already wrecking havoc for coastal communities in developing countries, with rising seas damaging dockside infrastructure and warming waters driving away traditional fish stocks. The result is loss of income, food, and in many cases, cultural heritage.

Climate justice is only possible when front-line communities—like those that depend on the sea for food and livelihoods—have the resources they need for a resilient future. At Future of Fish, we center our work on collaborations with small-scale fishers. Together we design better systems, practices, and technologies that help fishers continue supporting their communities in this time of unstable climate impacts. By working closely with fishers, seafood supply chains, and the local community and governments, we co-design interventions that build environmentally sustainable, climate resilient, and economically viable fisheries for today, and the future.

Our current work with mahi-mahi fishers in Peru is one example of our work to address climate justice within sustainable fisheries. Peru provides 50% of the world’s mahi-mahi and all of it is caught by small-scale fishers using non-mechanized gear. The lifeblood of Peru’s mahi-mahi fishery, these fishers target fish that previously lived off Peru’s coast. But today, the mahi-mahi are moving further out to sea. Fisheries scientists are working to understand what’s causing the shift, but climate change is presumed to be a leading culprit. What were once week-long or ten-day trips now stretch to three weeks because fishers have to travel farther to make their catch. The traditional boats aren’t designed to stay out for such long trips. This means fishers—and the fish they catch—both suffer.

Future of Fish and our partners at WWF are collaborating with Peru’s mahi-mahi fishers to design solutions that will benefit the fish and the fishers. With input from innovators in cold chain technology, naval engineering, and other fisheries around the world, we are working together to build out the technology and regulatory solutions to ensure small-scale Peruvian fishers can fish safely and sustainably in a changing climate. The journey to a climate-resilient mahi-mahi fishery is just beginning, but we’re dedicated to staying in it for the long haul.

While our team has always been concerned about climate, and passionate about creating positive environmental impacts, we now prioritize climate change mitigation as a key design principle in our work. We were galvanized by 2019’s IPCC reports, and the global youth movement dedicated to ensuring our planet and every species on it—including us—have a healthy future to look forward to. We know it’s not going to be easy, but we were never about “easy” at Future of Fish. As a systems-change organization, we dive head-first into the wicked problems facing our oceans and coastal communities, and there is no greater system-challenge than addressing climate change. Climate justice is interwoven with everything we do to protect the future of fish, the communities that rely on them, and the oceans that support us all.

Future of Fish thrives on collaboration. If you have expertise in climate justice, fisheries, systems change, and/or innovation, give us a shout. For more about our projects or to see how you can support our work, visit our website. Either way, we’d love to hear from you, learn from you, and combine forces to scale solutions.

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Local Philanthropic Institution, Seattle Foundation, Has Begun a New Chapter Addressing Climate Justice

By Stephanie Stinson

2017 Earth Day climate march in Seattle

2017 Earth Day climate march in Seattle. Photo credit: Rick Theis, Twenty20.

Community foundations first emerged as U.S. institutions more than 100 years ago. Since then they have become essential bridge builders, civic leaders, and philanthropic catalyzers in the places they serve.

Closer to home, the name Seattle Foundation has long been synonymous with efforts to strengthen the health and vitality of our region through philanthropy since its creation in 1946. Each philanthropic strategy designed by Seattle Foundation is rooted in the belief that all individuals, families, and communities deserve opportunities to thrive, regardless of their race, place, or other identity. In line with its tradition as a recognized leader in striving to reduce the inequities that exist across our local communities, Seattle Foundation launched a Climate Justice Impact Strategy in 2018 to guide the evolution of its ongoing commitment to this work.

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Goalmaker: Love (and Abundance) in the Age of Climate Change

By Amber Cortes

Janet and Semi Lotawa in Fiji

Janet and Semi Lotawa in Fiji. Photo provided by Janet Lotawa.

The climate is already changing, and it’s getting urgent.

You could look at it this way—there is scarcity, there is instability, there is crisis. There is inequality, there are ‘the haves’ and the ‘have nots.’

Or you could see it another way entirely—that there are solutions right in front of us, if we can just listen. There is abundance in community. There is resilience in wisdom. There’s empowerment and innovation when people come together for the greater good.

It’s a way of thinking that originally brought Janet and Semi Lotawa together in the remote Fijian village where they met, and it’s what has sustained their relationship for the past 25 years. It’s also a guiding principle behind the work that they do running Global Washington network member organization Rise Beyond the Reef.

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Members News

PRESS RELEASE: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Commits $10 Million to Global Response to 2019-nCOV

SEATTLE – January 26, 2020 – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced that it is immediately committing $10 million in emergency funds and corresponding technical support to help frontline responders in China and Africa accelerate their efforts to contain the global spread of 2019-nCoV.

The foundation is committing $5 million to the 2019-nCoV response in China and is already working with a range of Chinese public and private sector partners to accelerate national and international cooperation in areas of critical need, including efforts to identify and confirm cases, safely isolate and care for patients and accelerate the development of treatments and vaccines.

Partners include the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and various research institutes affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen University and Sinopharm China National Biotec Group.

The foundation is also immediately committing $5 million to assist the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in scaling up public health measures against 2019-nCoV among African Union member states. These measures will include technical support to implement the screening and treatment of suspected cases, laboratory confirmation of 2019-nCoV diagnoses and the safe isolation and care of identified cases.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

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