March 23, 2015

As a child, I spent a lot of times in the sea, captivated with the water and the numerous creatures big and small living in it. As an adult, I became a marine biologist, still enthralled by the beauty and novelty of underwater life. From my early years as an educator, teaching college and graduate students about the study of life itself, and being involved in marine researches on coral reefs, seagrasses, and mangrove forests to assessment of fishes and fisheries resources as well as charismatic species groups such as dolphins and whales, seabirds, marine turtles, sharks and rays, I get to have a deeper appreciation not only for the science but also for the benefits they bring to us all, in terms of food, livelihood, health and well-being.

However, I have also witnessed threats to these ecosystems and to these species groups, from pollution to overexploitation and various other destructive and unsustainable practices which are all exacerbated with climate change impacts. Many ecosystems are now threatened and many species are facing extinction. With many of us linked to the coastal and marine environment, our lives and livelihoods – not to mention our health and well-being – are also at stake. In a changing climate, I find we, the people, are threatened as well. We have lost lives and properties to severe and more frequent typhoons, flooding, diseases and many other disasters these past years. We needed to act yesterday but yesterday is past - what can we do now?

The answer is: plenty. And it starts with each one of us. Be the solution. Be informed. The decision you make now is the legacy you leave behind.

As the newest member of CCEF, I invite you all to be one with me in responding and providing a meaningful contribution in reducing these threats to our resources and to the people dependent on these resources. True to CCEF’s mission, I also believe that sustainability – and resiliency in a changing climate – is possible when we all work together and are actively engaged in the management of our resources.

I am very grateful for this opportunity to work for CCEF and be of service to the public at large in promoting marine and coastal resources management vis-à-vis community development. With this opportunity comes great responsibility. I look forward to your support!

Moonyeen Nida Alava
Executive Director, CCEF