Longtime partners Blue Ventures and Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD), based on Belize’s northern coast, came together for a clinic focused on reducing single-use plastics. In 2019, Belize announced a ban on single-use plastics and Styrofoam. This move was critical for the preservation of the ocean, which is important from a biodiversity perspective but also from an economic perspective: Belize relies heavily on fishing and tourism.
However, in Sarteneja and other communities around Belize, those effected by the ban were not included in the conversation. SACD and Blue Ventures, with support from Creative Action Institute, implemented a 3-day workshop coinciding with International Ocean’s Day. Through the workshop, the creative environmental leaders engaged women business owners, staff and artisans to think about their role in supporting the ban on single-use plastics and Styrofoam and the impact of these products on the environment and residents’ day to day lives. Single-use plastics and Styrofoam are commonly used at markets and large family and community gatherings. Recognizing the role they could play, participants and community members created 11 signs and installed them in strategic locations around the village to help spread awareness to the 3,500 residents of Sarteneja.
They also screened an animated movie about the ocean and facilitated a dialogue using the Art Code process, which involved 64 community members. Through this process, there was increased awareness and commitment to supporting the ban. Additionally, both SACD and Blue Ventures had increased capacity to facilitate creative dialogue about the ban.