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Goal 7. Ensure environmental sustainability

Environmental preservation principles are communicated between languages through language development programs and literature production. Deforestation is a critical problem worldwide. As local populations learn appropriate technology while drawing on traditional knowledge of flora and fauna, they meet economic needs while protecting the environment.

Mangrove protection explained in mother tongue

Man planting mangrovesAgus had wondered why ocean tides were now destroying coastal areas of his Ambai village in Papua, Indonesia, that had survived intact for generations. Then, during a mother- tongue-based development program, he and the community learned that clearing the mangrove areas had resulted in soil erosion. Mangrove ecosystems—among the most productive and biologically complex ecosystems—support a wealth of life while providing a natural breakwater between land and sea.

Armed with this information in his own language, Agus began the daunting process of replanting the mangroves in his community. Recently, a group of Indonesian government officials visited the island to examine the Ambai development program. Their visit opened a dialog about the funding needed to establish a multi-year mangrove revitalization project.

Studies have shown that an intact mangrove system, with its associated seaward reef and sea grass beds, will mitigate the force of a tsunami by up to 80% per 100 meters.

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