Our oceans are a source of food and revenue for billions of people. Over forty percent of the world’s population lives and works along coastlines. These fragile areas are extremely vulnerable to pollution and climate change, including rising sea levels and extreme weather events.
How do oyster reefs, coral reefs, and mangroves help protect shorelines against climate change? How are communities incorporating traditional knowledge to restore and sustain the valuable resources of our oceans?
At the 2022 Folklife Festival, we visited the places where land and sea meet and interact with community members who are protecting, reclaiming, and ensuring the future of these fascinating ecosystems.
Visitors learned how the humble oyster is the foundation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s local ecosystem and economy and meet the people who are fostering the return and continued health of oysters in the bay.
We discovered how communities in Belize use local livelihoods and traditions to contribute to the health of mangroves, seagrass, and coral reef ecosystems.
Vistors met women artisans in Fiji, who preserve traditional skills like weaving sea grasses and carry on practices such as celestial navigation to protect the knowledge of living sustainably in their coastal habitats.