The Mesoamerican Reef, or MAR, is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. It stretches across the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras and supports the region’s culture and economies through fisheries and tourism, offers coastal protection and habitats for marine biodiversity.
But it’s facing threats from climate change, sewage, disease and overfishing, to name a few.
To better understand these challenges and the impact they have on associated ecosystems and human well-being, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative (HRI) are hosting two online webinars for journalists on February 18th.
Over the past 10 years, HRI, an international network of reef research, management and conservation institutions, has conducted rigorous studies to track the health of the MAR and help safeguard it. HRI’s scientists evaluate reef conditions, identify the most urgent threats and offer responses.
Their research results are then published as the Mesoamerican Reef Report Card. The latest version of this report will be launched in the four countries that encompass the MAR on February 13, allowing us to discuss its findings during our webinars.
Our first webinar will be held in Spanish at 9am (Central American time) and will be led by Mélina Soto, HRI’s Mexico coordinator. Soto holds a master’s degree in Marine Biology from the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology at UNAM and for the past 15 years has been involved in research and conservation projects, from water quality and coral reef monitoring to ecotoxicology to restoration.
The main speaker of the English webinar — to be held at 10:30am (Belize time) — will be Melanie MacField, HRI’s founder and director who holds a PhD in Marine Science from the University of South Florida. We welcome journalists from around the world to register and join the webinars, not just those from the MAR region. RSVP in English or RSVP in Spanish.
Over each hour-long session, participants will have a chance to discuss the results of the Mesoamerican Reef Report Card, learn about the main indicators evaluated to get those results and brainstorm possible reporting angles.
These webinars are part of EJN’s Mesoamerican Reef Reporting Project launched in June 2019 to increase and improve news coverage on the environmental health of the reef system.
Says Mesoamerican Reef project editor Lucy Calderon Pineda:
“It is crucial that journalists keep reporting and producing stories about the importance of having healthy oceans and marine ecosystems that encourage their audiences to take climate action.”