The founding trustee and director of the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST), Dr Tony Ribbink, addressed the Kenton on Sea Rotary Club last Tuesday (05/11/2013). At the start of his speech Dr Ribbink said that he was pleased to announce the relocation of the organisation’s office to The Threeways Centre in Kenton on Sea.

Dr Ribbink provided a brief overview of the origins of SST. The organisation arose from the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme at a time when countries from the Western Indian Ocean noted their interest in the technology and coelacanths research project but called for sustainable and worthwhile projects where the main interest was on the wellbeing of the coastal communities.

To encapsulate the inspiration that led to SST, Dr Ribbink cited Nelson Mandela’s words when he was President which emphasized that: Conservation, sustainability and rehabilitation of the environment cannot succeed until we have addressed issues of: Poverty; Food security; Education and skills development; Human dignity and social justice; Human health; Providing employment to marginalized people.

As such SST pursues sustainability through knowledge and action in their various activities:
SST helps rehabilitate marine life to feed people and sustain ecosystems; SST works on food security and sustainable lifestyles; SST provides education and skills training - in classrooms and outside too; SST films are used to promote an understanding and influence human behaviour and action by government, business and the public.

To highlight the value of knowledge and learning about our seas Dr Ribbink shared a delightful anecdote from a recent film shoot on the beach in Kenton on Sea, where the film crew and actors, two young children, were delighted to discover a young octopus ‘walking’ across the rocky shelves between the tidal pools busy relocating from a pool that had become too shallow to a more appealing one.

Before screening a short film produced by SST’s Trust Sustainability Films (TSF) Dr Ribbink highlighted what is under the sea’s surface saying that “people don’t pay enough attention to what they don’t see and as a result our marine life is being destroyed”.

“Our current education films: take children to sea, harbours, estuaries, boats, ships; teach through the eyes of children: share excitement and experiences; in different languages; use animations; is in line with the school curriculum; is short, about 12 minutes, so suitable for classroom use so teachers can introduce, show and discuss; and show that Kenton is a great place to spend time with children,” Dr Ribbink said. 

In closing Dr Ribbink highlighted the organisation’s current exciting photographic competition which not only offers wonderful prizes to the public but where all photographic entries stand the chance of being included in a coffee table book to be produced by Struik and launched during Marine Week 2014. 

Did You Know?

“Most of the world's major fisheries are unsustainable”

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