Big Impact, Small Island
Organized by: Dara Zycherman
How do you fall in love with a place? Much like you fall in love with a person. Unexpectedly and with devotion.
Last May, I took a trip to Indonesia. I had been dreaming of this for several years. It was even more impactful than I could have imagined.
About a week into the trip, I cautiously stepped into a wobbly boat and headed out to the Gili Islands. It’s a network of three small islands surrounded by coral reefs, with no motorized traffic, filled with wonderful people, and unscathed beaches. As someone who has spent most of her life learning about and working on environmental issues, I can’t tell you how much this place inspired me.
Almost from the moment I arrived, I knew I would have to come back. And in a couple weeks, I return for two months. I hope to help the Gili EcoTrust continue their momentum toward coral restoration and sophisticated waste management practices. And I am asking my family and friends to consider being a part of it too. I’ve set a personal goal of raising $1,000 to see this work continue.
I know you might be thinking: Dara, in a world of environmental disaster and inconvenient truths, why will this make a difference? The Gili Islands are a microcosm of many environmental problems that are faced globally (here’s a recent report about the Great Barrier Reef). But it's rare to find a location that has real potential to change and reverse environmental degradation: because of the community, because of stakeholders working together, because of environmental leaders. Unlike so many ecological issues that seem unsolvable, this one is because of its small scale. And as progress is made, the lessons learned can be applied to other communities. It can serve as a case study for others, magnifying its reach.
If you’re in a position to donate even a small amount, I know it will go far and would mean the world to me. Thank you.