To celebrate World Oceans Day, we’ve teamed up with two of the world’s first Blue Carbon projects; the Mikoko Pamoja project and Vanga Blue Forest project. These community-led projects are located on the southern coast of Kenya, and focus on protecting and restoring their local mangrove ecosystems.
Here, we will be offsetting 100kgs of CO2 through blue carbon ecosystems with every single Ocean Bottle sold during this week. So, not only will you be helping to fund the collection of 1000 ocean-bound plastic bottles, you’ll also be preventing 100kgs of harmful carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere and supporting the livelihoods of vulnerable coastal communities. How great is that?!
What is Blue Carbon, and why is it so important that we protect it?
Blue Carbon is carbon that is stored specifically in coastal and marine ecosystems (also called blue carbon stores), such as mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows. These coastal ecosystems absorb harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and, despite them covering less than 2% of the total ocean area, account for approximately half of the total carbon stored in the ocean. They are much more efficient at storing carbon than any land-based forests, so are vital for reducing the effects of climate change and preventing our oceans from becoming too acidic. Not only are they vital for our natural environment, they also provide crucial coastal protection and food security for coastal communities.
Protecting these blue carbon stores is so important. If they become damaged or destroyed, they release all the carbon they have stored for centuries into the ocean and the atmosphere, making the ocean more acidic and contributing to climate change. However, if we protect and restore these ecosystems we can not only prevent this from happening, but also aid in the absorption of harmful CO2 emissions.
What we are doing to help protect blue carbon stores this World Oceans Day...
We’re partnering with the Mikoko Pamoja and Vanga Blue Forest projects, two of the world’s first blue carbon projects that concentrate on long-term, effective mangrove protection and restoration; all through community involvement. Both projects protect and restore nearly 580 hectares of mangrove forest between them, resulting in the collection of nearly 7,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year - the equivalent of taking 1,700 cars off the road.
Why is protecting our mangroves so important?
Mangroves are tropical trees that thrive in salty, unforgivable coastal waters. They have the ability to absorb vast amounts of CO2 and store it safely as carbon, so are key weapons in the fight against climate change.
Over the past four decades, 35% of global mangrove forests have been destroyed, which has a huge knock-on effect. The forests are home to some of the world’s most endangered species, and provide a protective environment that acts as a vital nursery for many marine species. Mangroves also protect coastlines and communities from storm surges, coastal erosion and ever increasing sea levels, as well as supporting life-sustaining fisheries and filtering out pollutants.
Why are these projects so successful?
Some of the main threats to mangrove forests include being cut back for firewood, cleared for coastal developments and shrimp farming, or falling victim to pollution from inland sources like plastic and heavy fertilisers.
The Mikoko Pamoja and Vanga Blue Forest projects tackle this head on by being directly governed and managed by the local community; solely for the benefit of the community. Not only do the projects increase biodiversity, and massively improve the fisheries and coastal protection in the local areas, they also fund community development activities in education, sanitation and water provision. This provides social-economic support and empowers these communities, therefore leads to a systematic change and beyond.
Shop now to get your Ocean Bottle to celebrate World Oceans Day 2021!