Former Seychelles' President James Michel releases new book as a celebration of the ocean

General |Author: Betymie Bonnelame | January 7, 2024, Sunday @ 09:03| 7766 views

The new book explores the challenges facing the world and urges radical changes now. (James Michel Foundation) 

(Seychelles News Agency) - Former Seychelles' President James Michel has released a new book entitled "Revisiting the Ocean - Living The Blue Economy" as a celebration of the ocean and for those who advocate for its potential to be harnessed and protected.

Funded by Lloyd's Register Foundation, the book comes seven years after Michel wrote his first one about the Blue Economy, entitled "Rethinking the Oceans: Towards a Blue Economy."

According to a press release from the James Michel Foundation, the new book explores the challenges facing the world and urges radical changes now to reverse the negative forces embedded in modern industrial society so in a sense it is building on the first one.

Michel said that at present, large swathes of the ocean remain unregulated with illegal fishing, waste dumping and seabed mining causing currently unknown levels of damage to the environment.

He told SNA that his new book "highlights some of the exciting initiatives that are now underway around the world. At one level, I am 100 percent behind attempts to designate great swathes of the ocean as protected areas, allowing the recovery of fish and other species."  

The book also highlights the pioneering work being carried out by communities at all global levels.

"My new book draws attention to the varied work of communities, NGOs and business startups in restoring and looking after the ocean. This focus on local efforts shows that one does not have to wait for big and often cumbersome organisations to make the first move," he explained.

On his inspiration for the book, Michel told SNA that the ocean has been a lifelong passion for me, as it is for so many Seychellois.

"My 12 years as President were marked by various initiatives to acknowledge the importance and potential of the ocean, not least of all through promoting the idea of the Blue Economy. During this period, Seychelles scored some notable 'firsts' – including the formation of a Blue Economy department in my government, the 'debt swap' scheme, which enabled us to fund the protection of 30 percent of our extensive EEZ, and the idea of blue bonds," he said.

He added that the book will bring benefits to the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean as Seychelles is in a strong position to move to the next stages in the development of the Blue Economy.

"We all know what it means now – the sustainable use of the ocean – and we have a growing number of examples of what should be done. Of course, Seychelles is a small nation but where else can one find such a large expanse of ocean with so many possibilities? There is so much progress that can be made – in finding new sources of food, putting a block on plastic waste, recycling fishing nets, and aiding carbon capture by replanting vast areas of mangrove and seagrass meadows," said Michel.

He hopes that by sharing information on what is being done elsewhere to develop a sustainable and regenerative Blue Economy, this will benefit other nations too.

Far from fantasy, the book focuses on current examples of how the world is moving towards the Blue Economy, including analysis of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the ocean by 2030.

James Michel said, "We are entering an exhilarating phase of the blue economy journey. The vast amount of natural resources that the ocean has to offer can provide the world with new sources of renewable energy and it is time the world put its trust in the ocean."

"While this is a book which celebrates the advances we've made in the Blue Economy, I am a realist and I do not shy away from the challenges that we face on this journey. I am also an optimist and can see the immense amount of progress that has already been made. I hope this book shows people how far we've come and the practical steps we can take to start living the Blue Economy," he said.

Beth Elliot, head of communications and global campaigns at Lloyd's Register Foundation said: "We are extremely excited to be funding James Michel's new book, which champions those who are working towards a sustainable Blue Economy. At Lloyd's Register Foundation, we are passionate about protecting the ocean while harnessing the many benefits it holds for humanity, which is why we had to get involved in this timely exploration of the Blue Economy."

Michel told SNA that the 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP28) in the UAE has shown that people want to move faster than international agencies and large nations allow.

"We need a people's revolution, where every school and community association has its targets, where small island states are prepared to take the lead, where business startups deliver the means to save our seas and save the planet too," he concluded.


Tags: Lloyd's Register Foundation, 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

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