(GMT+7)
American Writer Encourages ‘Save the East Sea Social Media Campaign”(Concluded) 08/04/2016, 09:43:52 AM (GMT+7)

“Start a campaign to conserve and to sustain the East Sea”, says James Borton –a National Fellow in The Explorers Club, an American-based international mutidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research. He will attend the 112th Explorers Club annual dinner that celebrates, “Oceans; Current of Life” on March 12 in New York.

>>>American Writer Encourages ‘Save the East Sea Social Media Campaign”

James Borton is an educator and is now at work on a book, Dispatches from the South China Sea

What can you tell us about this island and what it represents for Viet Nam’s future?

In speaking with a Kinh fishermen like 60 year-old Nguyen Qui Hien about their cultural beliefs associated whales protection of fishers, I better understood the term, “blue mind.” In a water-based community, people are in daily harmony with the elements and often invest their environment with magical qualities. Here on this island, there’s not competition among fishers, but cooperation. I saw them fixing their fishing nets, working on their boats, and in the market selling their fish. This ancestral fishing village is now a biosphere reserve, conserving and protecting the coral reefs, ecological diversity and cultural heritage. This sense of their ancestral past is reflected in the many pagodas and temples dedicated to honoring whales. In their beliefs and festivals, the islanders reveal their pride in their livelihoods and more importantly, community. The Cham Islands are indeed a breath-taking cluster of granite islands whose population livelihoods depend on fishing and other marine resources.

Viet Nam’s important maritime history can be seen in every cultural and economic activity found in the nation’s ancestral fishing grounds, traditional boat building industry, and marine protected areas.

 

Younger people should visit this magical island

What lessons can be learned from this community?

I think that they can teach all of us about the need to conserve and to sustain our oceans. Dr. Trinh and others at his marine protected have taught the Kinh  that by protection of their coral reefs, they are saving their seas for more fishing for the future generations. The islands boast 277 coral species and 270 reef fish species as well as a wealth of natural beauty and an abundance of traditional knowledge and customs.

Here there is no development and no hotels. The community has now brought in a new form of income in the way of homestays for divers and eco-tourism. I have also learned from them how people can truly have a deeper emotional connection to the sea. The East Sea inspires, thrills and even soothes people. I encourage Viet Nam’s younger people to visit this magical island so that they can experience how this body of water, the East Sea, casts its spell and holds us in a net of wonder forever. I know that I will return soon.

A national conversation from Cu Lao Cham

Since you are not only a writer but an educator teaching students how to write, what do you recommend for our young people in addressing the future of the East Sea?

Why not start a social media inspired campaign among Viet Nam’s young net-savvy citizens. A few people have suggested calling it “Save the East Sea” or Lu’ugiu Bien Dong. It is becoming apparent that Viet Nam’s important maritime history can be seen in every cultural and economic activity found in the nation’s ancestral fishing grounds, traditional boat building industry, and marine protected areas. What Vietnamese are witnessing is the continuity of tradition in opposition with the rapid cultural changes. Perhaps, young people can create a national conversation about some of these issues related to East Sea ancestral traditions and the challenges to sustain them.

Vietnam’s population have to protect their precious and fragile ancestral fishing grounds, James Borton talk to Tienphong Newspaper

Why do you think this subject or social media message is topical and may interest young people?

Oceans are the lifeblood of the earth and is home to some of our oldest and most unique species. The rapid destruction of coral reefs in the East Sea translates as no more diving and no more snorkeling. One-quarter of the world’s reefs have already been destroyed due to pollution and climate change. Vietnam’s young people can let the government know that they disapprove of China’s reckless reclamations and destruction of coral reefs.  Furthermore, Vietnam’s fishing communities are central to any examination of sovereignty and should be placed into the national discourse as part of a nation-wide “soft diplomacy” response to China’s continued aggressive actions in the East Sea. Finally, overfishing and pollution has an immediate and direct impact on their lives now and tomorrow.

A Viet Nam social media campaign does encourage a form of environmental nationalism, but maybe it will also inspire other neighboring countries to promote conservation and sustainable development.

Take control of your future

What challenge or statement do you want to leave with our readers?

Take charge and control of your future. Start a campaign to conserve and to sustain the East Sea. Plan a ceremony the first week in June 2016 and hold it on Cu Lao Cham. The program might even correspond with a scheduled 2-3 day real time and online writing workshop on “Understanding Vietnam’s Environmental Challenges in the East Sea” all this could become a grand lead up to World Ocean Day to be held on June 8, 2016. During this week throughout Vietnam’s coast, young people can engage in a sweeping clean up of the coastal environment and disseminate government approved information on the environment and ‘saving the East Sea. All these efforts may succeed in mobilizing and uniting Vietnam’s population to claim and to protect their precious and fragile ancestral fishing grounds. In the best of all possible worlds, a Viet Nam social media campaign encourages a form of environmental nationalism, but maybe it will also inspire other neighboring countries to promote conservation and sustainable development.

Thank you so much for doing me a favor of making this interview

Hoàng Quốc Dũng
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