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Monday, November 14th, 2011 . 12:49 pm | No Comments

Setting Sail for our Island of Hope: Projects Arising from the Kava Bowl Ocean Summit

The Kava Bowl Ocean Summit, sponsored and hosted by the Okeanos Foundation, was held in Honolulu, Hawai’i, June 30 – July 3, 2011, to bring together people of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and expertise to creatively approach the environmental problems impacting the Pacific Ocean. In particular, the focus was on warming waters, growing acidification, increasing underwater noise, and decreasing oxygen levels. Discussions were held in the Pacific tradition, where people sit around a kava bowl, meeting at eye-level and freely exchanging thoughts and ideas.

Kava Bowl

Kava Bowl © Rui Camilo

Projects following from the Summit were:

1)  The founding of “Pacific Voyagers Foundation” in Hawai’i to implement the projects arising out of the Summit and communicate this information to the public through their website.

2)  The establishment of the strategic group “Fossil Fuel-Free Island” including engineers, strategists, social and neuroscientists, along with the affected islanders. Okeanos funds the first strategic study relating to the entire Pacific but this may also serve as a blueprint for each individual island.

Vaka Motu

Dieter Paulmann presenting the Vaka Motu © Rui Camilo

3)  The creation of the Vaka Motu (“traditional sailing canoe for small islets”) working group, focusing on energy-saving, inter-island transportation. The first Vaka Motu prototype is ready, currently being tested and will be presented to the Pacific islanders and publicity during the Festival of Pacific Arts in Solomon Islands in July 2012.

4)  A third working group, composed of social scientists, neuroscientists, psychologists, economists, and strategists, will try to answer the questions: “Why don’t we change, knowing what we know? How can we tell new, positive stories with a good ending, freeing ourselves from past ineffective policies and practices? How can we tell transformational stories that will reach people, bringing science to their hearts, and showing them a new vision for the future?” For Dieter Paulmann, the Chair of the Okeanos Foundation, this may be the most path-breaking and seminal group.

5)  The fourth working group, playfully entitled “OFEC – Organization for Fish Exporting Countries” (who knows? It may rival OPEC in the future!), addresses the necessity of an island to execute and administer its own fishing rights, especially in a sustainable way. The idea is to draw up a plan of how fishing rights could be re-purchased by the islands and leased back to the fishermen with licensing requirements in accordance with sustainable fishing practices. The profits from these leases would remain in the islands to be used for investments in alternative energy projects. Long-term (20 year) loans and donations from large organizations could be provided. One strength of this working group is that it is totally independent, potentially allowing for easier access to solutions.

The study of the Stockholm Environment Institute “Valuing the Ocean”, originally with the working title “How Much is the Ocean Worth to You?”, supported by the Okeanos Foundation, will be published in the summer of 2012.

Participants of the Kava Bowl Ocean Summit

Participants of the Kava Bowl Ocean Summit © Rui Camilo

The main idea behind the Kava Bowl Ocean Summit was to touch people directly, establishing a connection between science and people’s hearts. It was not to produce more conference reports nor to work only strategically. Okeanos wanted to achieve a mixture of practical results that will be implemented right away, and strategic approaches that can be realized over the medium and long term in hopes of preserving our common heritage, the ocean.

For more information please contact us at: mail@okeanos-foundation.org

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