It is known that coral reefs in the Caribbean are under threat due to human actions and climate change.
Susan Mahon, Trustee and President of Coral Reef Restoration Alliance (CORALL), a Barbadian nonprofit organisation, believes that raising public awareness and getting people involved and the work that CORALL is doing will help save and restore the reefs of Barbados in time. She points out some successes to date.
Mahon is an Environmental Scientist and Sustainability Consultant and the former Academic and Managing Director of Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University and, former Managing Director for Harrisons Cave in Barbados. She lectures in Geography, Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Law.
In 1992, at the Earth Summit in Brazil, the Executive Director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) presented Mahon with the Global 500 Award in recognition of her ‘outstanding practical achievements in the protection and improvement of the environment’.
Tell us about CORALL and why it was founded.
Coral Reef Restoration Alliance (CORALL also called the Alliance) stands for the restoration of CORAL reef ecosystems for the well-being of ALL. It is a registered not-for-profit charitable organisation that is run by an Executive Committee. The Alliance was founded because the condition of the reefs in Barbados, the entire Caribbean region and the world is deteriorating, and we must act collectively to prevent further deterioration and restore the reefs. We depend on the reefs to provide us with oxygen to breathe – much as we depend on trees and other plants. We also need the reefs to help us maintain lifestyles and businesses that are based on a healthy balance of nature.
How do you work and what programs do you run?
The alliance takes a two-prong approach to its activities: ‘Ridge to Reef’ and Coral Reef Conservation and Restoration. We engage community members in the ‘Ridge to Reef (R2R)’ approach and encourage each person to apply the principle that: “What you do on the land affects the coral reefs and vice versa.” CORALL’s 200 volunteers work together with others to conserve and restore reefs. Our conservation and restoration efforts focus on planting coral fragments and monitoring their health at three pilot sites on the west coast of Barbados. CORALL is raising awareness on the importance of the coral reefs and the need to protect them.
Have you seen any change in people’s actions over the years?
CORALL has made significant strides in raising public awareness between its inception in 2017 and now. We have evolved from a handful of…