The premier of Someday is NOW! opened the Reef Summit at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts and had quite a turn out with an attendance of 300 people including the First Lady of Belize, Mrs. Kim Barrow, United States Ambassador Mr. Vinai K. Thummalapall and other international consulate dignitaries, the Ministry of Tourism’s CEO, students from around Belize, distinguished members of the Conservation Community and local media.
The event opened with performances from the Garifuna Collective as people located their seats. Actress and activist Daryl Hannah presented a letter from Dr. Sylvia Earle addressed to the First Lady of Belize, detailing her support and commitment to protecting reefs worldwide. Also on this evening, Dr. Robert Trench received his Lifetime Achievement award from the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative stating that in all his work and travels he was first and foremost a Belizean! He urged Belizeans to take ownership of their immense natural resource in the reef and become the best possible stewards – seeing it to a healthy future for generations to come.
The evening was punctuated with the premiere of Someday is NOW!. The film features a cross section of Belizean stakeholders from scientists, fisherman, government officials, local business men and ordinary citizens speaking out in defense of their reef. With a lively backdrop of Belize’s Stonetree recording artists, the film provides an inside look at critical issues threatening the reef. The audience was captivated by the film and the portrayal of their countrymen calling themselves to action – demanding Coastal Zone Planning. Students were inspired to discuss the next steps.CAVU, Healthy Reefs for Healthy People and Coastal Zone Management Authority will embark on a Rolling Wave Campaign in late January aiming to bring citizens together to support the Coastal Zone Management Plan, using the Healthy Reefs Initiative Report Card for 2010, Conservation International – MMAS science results and the CAVU educational materials (videos and educational pamphlets) in order to support creating/developing the Coastal Zone Management Plan and expanding “Replenishment” Zones (formerly called “no-take” zones). The campaign will create a Rolling Wave of Support for both of them as we go from town to town engaging students, fishers, managers, and governments as well as capturing local and national media coverage.
We are in the process of organizing a roundtable discussion with local partners and stakeholders on December 10th to make sure everyone is ready to do a great job in 2011. We will be working closely with Healthy Reefs Initiative and CZMAI. However, local partners are critical and so is other outreach programs such as Oceana and University of Belize. We have hired an educational consultant to help with the planning process and will be hiring someone local to help with the implementation and management.
We will be seeking your support and help in calling Belizeans to action in 2011.