Sustainable livelihoods: Wetlands can deliver
What does the term livelihood mean? Quite simply it is the set of capabilities, activities and resources that are required for someone to make a living.
What makes a livelihood sustainable? Ideally it should be able to:
- cope with and recover from man-made and natural crises.
- maintain its viability over time, without undermining the natural resource base.
Three dimensions of sustainability
Sustainability itself is a term that unites three key aspects in a single ideal:
- economic development: ensuring that people have the ways and means to build their own income and wealth.
- social development: enhancing cooperation, respect and trust between social groupings, and promoting gender equality.
- environmental protection: conserving and restoring the earth’s ecosystems to benefit both human life and the natural environment.
Case study: Brazil
Tamar Project on sea turtles
Tamar is an organization that protects five endangered species of sea turtles in Brazil. It started in 1980 by hiring local fishermen to patrol the sea turtle nesting beaches in their regular fishing areas during the nesting season. This halted the take of turtles and eggs and provided local residents with alternative livelihoods.
Today Tamar protects roughly 1,100km of coastline with a network of 23 bases located in important areas for sea turtle feeding, nesting, and development. More than 1,300 people, (85% of them local coastal residents) are involved directly with the programme. This includes 400 fishermen who work in field activities, and people from 25 fishing villages who staff visitor centres, work in shops or as guides, run conservation education activities, and make Tamar clothing for sale. With support from key sponsor Petrobras, Tamar has become a model for conservation programs worldwide.