During his study trip to the Solomon Islands, Dr. Gruber, who is a Research Associate for the American Museum and Natural History and reporting at Correspondent-at-large for UNEARTH News, found a bountiful array of marine life in the reefs he studied of the shores of the island nation.
He reported an “astounding variety of colorful living corals, as well as a few larger predators such as white-tip and black-tip reef sharks, silver-tip sharks and scalloped hammerhead sharks.”
The key to the healthy marine ecosystem, he noted, is the efforts of the local tribal leaders who actively protect the oceans they depend on.
"The paramount chiefs reached agreement that we are not to fish in certain areas at certain times, and everyone listened," local Joseph Taska told Gruber. "The reefs are our livelihood, and we strive to protect them."
The news of a successful local initiative comes on the heels of the release of the United Nations Global Compact 2013 survey indicating that the high-powered, business driven, worldwide initiative has failed to adequately bring about positive environmental change.
"While UN Global Compact participants are on a good track in terms of high-level commitments and goal-setting, much more needs to be done to deepen sustainability efforts in how they think and act, from boardrooms to supply chains," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in response to the findings.
The evidence reported in UNEARTH News suggests that the local Solomon Island tribal leaders are able to bring about real change even as world leaders flounder on policy-making initiatives with proven impact. This comes as no surprise to Dr. Robert Paterson, Co-Director, Center for Sustainable Development at the University of Texas at Austin whose current research focuses on the impact of local communities on the environment.
“There is a shift in the interpretation of this concept [of sustainable development] from a global perspective to a meso perspective, i.e., local or regional level,” Paterson wrote in a preliminary report of his research. “It is within the local context that sustainability is beginning to make the jump from visionary, global-scale thinking to concrete action.”