Aloha from Hawaii!

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From the moment I was selected as a Canadian Youth Ambassador for the World Conservation Congress, I was over-the-moon about the adventures to come in Hawaii!

Before setting off, I read “The Legend of Kamapua’a“, a tale of Hawaiian history and the Pacific island culture. The Hawaiian islands, just over 3800 kilometers from the nearest continent, were shaped by volcanoes. The topography of Hawaii with its craters, cliffs and bubbling lava is going to provide a spectacular landscape to explore.

Having worked as a Biologist Assistant in conservation and learned about the organization that red lists species-at-risk and endangered species, I am excited to be joining the Canadian Committee for the International Union for Conservation of Nature. I’m alongside Elise Pullar and Samantha McBeth, a dynamic duo just returned from the Arctic where they were learning about the impact of climate change.

Along with the 1,300 delegates from all corners of the globe, over the course of 10 days we will get just a taste of Hawaiian culture while learning from each other’s initiatives. Hawaii is home for over 7,000 of marine species in some of the world’s richest coral habitat. Host countries at international conferences like this one, aim to offer their best, yet strive to portray the existing challenges for the world to see.

Two years ago, the World Parks Congress was held in Australia. There, the threatened UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Great Barrier Reef was the prime example of the impact of ocean acidification. A first-hand exposure to the reality of anthropogenic climate change may have spoken louder than words. Seeing is believing, right?

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Papahanaumokuakea protected area (Credit: UNESCO)
This year, at the World Conservation Congress, hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, delegates will review progress on the IUCN’s call to action in conservation. In perfect timing, US President Barack Obama, Hawaii-born and raised on Oahu Island, announced this week that the US is creating the world’s   largest protected area off Hawaii.  Rumour has it he may be announcing it himself! This expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea protected area was well-timed, given the opening of the World Conservation Congress in his hometown. A great week for conservation!

Today, we will be joining the Pre-Congress session for Youth participants on the Big Island. Stay tuned for the update!

– Caroline


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