This Debt Relief Program From Leonardo DiCaprio Protects Ocean Life In The Seychelles

The Seychelles is an island nation off the coast of Africa that is known for being one of the most beautiful places in the world. Despite the distance from shore, it's a popular location for tourists.

There is also a wide variety of ocean life, as the whole nation is made up of interconnecting coral and granite islands. Under water is an enormous coral reef that shelters wildlife. But the amount of tourism that is a boon for the economy is a danger to the very marine life people travel to the Seychelles to see. There is also a big fishing industry, and debates over where they should be allowed to do their business has been intense.

The Telegraph reports that the Seychelles have reached an agreement for protecting areas of high marine biodiversity, made possible by a complicated debt restructuring with a group of philanthropists dedicated to protecting the environment, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio and five other investors work with The Nature Conservancy, who have suggested the plan which is being called a "debt-for-nature swap." They've bought $20 million of the island's sovereign debt, which the nation will pay back at a much lower rate. Those savings on the repayments will go into a trust that will then be used for environmental protections.

Some of the money will also be used to create an endowment that will be held for 20 years, so as to guarantee the Seychelles money in future, and allow them to make decisions that benefit their environment with less financial pressure. The Guardian reports they will also be creating two new marine parks, specifically in the Aldabra archipelago, which is often compared to the famous Galapagos islands. The area covers 28,571.56 miles, and bans it from being used for "extractive purposes," such as fishing.

Didier Dogley, Seychelles’ minister of environment, said the debt for nature agreement is “a paradigm shift on how we manage and use our coastal and ocean resources.”

“The Seychelles is positioning itself as a world leader in ocean governance,” he continued. “But we are not doing this because we have such a great ego but because we truly believe these initiatives will create prosperity for our people, conserve critical biodiversity and build resilience against climate change.”

And Dogley ultimately believes this is something that will benefit the citizens of the Seychelles as well as the marine life.

“By planning properly to protect our environment, we can be sure we are also protecting our people and their livelihoods against an uncertain future,” he said.

NewsThis Electric Scooter Is The Latest Eco-Friendly Rideshare

California-based startup Bird is attempting to lead the electric scooter sharing industry just six months into operation. They've received $100 million in a second round of funding.

1 week ago
CommunityThe First Ever Global Recycling Day Wants To Turn Waste Into A Solution

March 18 marks the first ever Global Recycling Day, an initiative led by the Bureau of International Recycling to improve our recycling habits worldwide by changing our idea of recyclables from "waste" to a valuable resource. 

1 week ago
CommunityNike Wants Your Ideas For The Green Products Of Tomorrow

Nike's Circular Innovation Challenge allows regular people to help the company get creative in the area of sustainability. They can either develop new tech for material recycling or design new products using Nike Grind materials.

1 week ago
CommunityTiny Island Resort Aims To Be 100% Sustainable By 2020

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is located in a sanctuary zone in Australia, which is home to thousands of species of marine life. 

2 weeks ago
Stay Green
Sign up for our daily newsletter