Insights from Indonesia: Protecting Our Coral Reefs

By Antha Williams, Head of Environmental Programs, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Our oceans program, like all of our work at Bloomberg Philanthropies, aims to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. So it’s good news that the United Nations International Coral Reef Initiative has declared 2018 the International Year of the Reef. Coral reefs are home to one in every four fish in the ocean, and are a critical backbone of ocean ecosystems. Unfortunately, climate change threatens to destroy 90 percent of reefs in the next three decades. And as the demand for fish continues to grow, overfishing and destructive practices, like bottom-trawling and using bombs and cyanide for fishing, are damaging coral reefs.

Follow the Data Podcast Episode 14: Coal: Why a 19th Century Innovation is Not Working in a 21st Century World

This year’s final episode of Follow the Data revisits Bloomberg Philanthropies first feature documentary, From the Ashes, directed by Michael Bonfiglio and distributed by National Geographic. Inspired by Mike Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ commitment to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, the film was developed to bring greater attention to the impact of the coal industry in the United States.

Katherine Oliver speaks to two clean economy pioneers featured in the film: Mayor Dale Ross of Georgetown, Texas, and Brandon Dennison, Founder of Coalfield Development Corporation, based in West Virginia.

How data is empowering city climate action

By Kelly Shultz, Bloomberg Philanthropies Environment Team, Hanya Gartner of C40 Cities, and Kyra Appleby of CDP

As Michael Bloomberg says: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it and you can’t fix it.” Cites are leaders in the transition to sustainable economies but first they need to know where they stand. The first step for cities to get on the sustainability ladder is to measure and report.

To help with this challenge, on August 8th-9th Bloomberg Philanthropies hosted the “Empowering cities with data” workshop in collaboration with C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, CDP, and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. The two-day meeting was held in the City of San Francisco, in a region known as the global epicenter of tech innovation. Under San Francisco’s Mayor Edwin M. Lee, the city has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 28% from 1990 levels, while its GDP has grown by 78% and its population by almost 20%.

Vibrant Oceans Q&A: Fighting illegal fishing through Global Fishing Watch

The global losses due to illegal fishing and overfishing cost the world’s economy up to $23.5 billion annually. Vessels are getting away with these harmful practices by failing to report where they are fishing and what they are catching. They’re fishing in protected waters and depleting the fisheries of certain species, diminishing populations to irreparable lows, harming the livelihoods of and depleting an important source of protein for populations in many of the world’s countries.

50 Reefs Q&A: Believing in the capacity of humans to self-correct

Dr. Ameer Abdulla, Senior Marine Advisor, World Commission of Protected Areas, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered as you work to protect reefs in the Maldives?

I believe there is a general lack of recognition of the critical role coral reefs play in the persistence of the islands and the economy of the country. Of course this issue is not unique to Maldives but is especially emphasized given the geography and geomorphology of the country. The wellbeing of not just the coral reefs but also the people is at stake when reefs are not managed as well as they could be.

50 Reefs Q&A: Prevention is better than a cure

Dr. Sangeeta Mangubhai, Fiji Country Director, Wildlife Conservation Society

Can you tell us about the problems that are affecting coral reefs globally?

Coral reefs are facing an onslaught of stresses and pressures from land-based pollution, destructive fishing, overfishing, and climate change. Any one of these human caused stresses have the potential to impact coral reefs. Together they are causing wide scale losses and declines in coral reefs all over the world at alarming rates. Even some of the more remote parts of the world, away from human habitation, coral reefs are impacted by climate change-induced thermal events that can cause coral bleaching.

50 Reefs Q&A: Raising awareness on the importance of coral reef conservation in Indonesia

With Rili Djohani, the Executive Director of Coral Triangle Center

Can you tell us about the problems that are affecting coral reefs globally?
More than 60 percent of the world’s reefs are under immediate and direct threat from local sources such as overfishing, destructive fishing, uncontrolled coastal development, watershed-based pollution, or marine-based pollution and direct physical damage from coral mining and tourism activities such as trampling on the reef. An estimated 75 percent of the world’s coral reefs are rated as threatened when local threats are combined with global threats such as thermal stress caused by climate change and ocean acidification. If local and global threats are not addressed, the percentage of threatened reefs is projected to increase to 90 percent by 2050.

Follow the Data Podcast Episode 8: Plenty of Fish in the Sea?

One of the largest single contributions ever made for such work, the Vibrant Oceans Initiative focuses on revitalizing the fish population by simultaneously tackling both industrial and local fishing practices.

In this episode, we’ll go in depth on the ways the Vibrant Oceans Initiative is working to encourage responsible fishing globally to protect this vital source of food and income for generations to come.

Leading the conversation is Andrew Sharpless, the Chief Executive Officer of our partner organization Oceana, and Melissa Wright from the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Environment team.

Photo Tour of the 2016 C40 Award Winners

By Kelly Shultz, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Environment Team

Last week the Bloomberg Philanthropies Environment Team joined global C40 mayors, policy experts, city officials and business leaders in Mexico City for the sixth C40 Mayors Summit. Together we explored how to accelerate climate action in 90 of the world’s greatest and largest cities—from Austin to Rio de Janeiro to Oslo to Wuhan—and celebrated the boldest urban climate projects from 2016 at the C40 Awards Ceremony.

10 more U.S. mayors join City Energy Project and commit to reduce building emissions

By Kelly Shultz, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Environment team

Now more than ever, cities are taking the lead when it comes to acting on climate change. Last May, Melissa Wright took to our blog to tell the story of the City Energy Project, a nationwide initiative co-funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Kresge Foundation, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to address the largest source of pollution and energy use in cities, namely buildings.