“We must allow our children the right to experience the beauty of Belize that we have had the fortune to share. We must, in addition, teach the next generation the idea of conservation for, if we fail, we had better teach them survival.”— Manuel Esquivel, Past Prime Minister of Belize – 1994.
Belize is known as “the jewel” because of its lush green forest, blue waters, and abundance of wildlife. This jewel has passed many environmental protection laws that aim to preserve the country’s natural and cultural heritage.
There are many conservation groups and efforts that move towards the conservation of particular species, or groups of animals, while others are aimed at entire habitats such as the marine habitat and the reef system. What many may not be aware of, is that this small, yet beautiful country of Belize, has some of the richest habitats in this world. There are currently 103 protected areas throughout the country of Belize.
Belize is fast becoming a leading country in conservation. Many hotels and restaurants have taken a step into protecting the environment by going green. They practice this method by using biodegradables, bamboo, paper, and other types of straws. Not only that, they also work on recycling products that are harmful to the environment. Most restaurants and hotels have taken up the responsibility to have an organic garden to help supply their food needs. Belize’s natural resources are very important to the country. Therefore, Belizeans try to protect them, and we hope that our visitors will do the same.
There are many commendable examples of organizations and private businesses making significant efforts and paving the way to sustainability. Read below on some of our most active conservationists.
Established by a group of leading foundations in 2001, Oceana is the largest international organization working exclusively to protect and restore the oceans on a global scale. Their offices around the world are dedicated to achieving measurable change by conducting specific, science-based, policy campaigns that will help make our oceans more biodiverse and abundant. In Belize, Oceana’s vision is a thriving ecosystem, capable of producing healthy marine resources that support a vibrant and sustainable local economy for Belizean’s. Local campaigns include the opposition of offshore drilling in Belize’s waters, and protecting Belize’s natural resources from indiscriminate fishing gear.
The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO), is an umbrella organization for Belize's conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs). Presently, APAMO houses 16 members, including BAS, SEA, TIDE, TASA, and PFB, to name a few. As a part of their mandate, APAMO works across the country to invest in eco-tourism within the 28 Protected Areas under their umbrella. Boasting some of the most visited destinations in Belize, like the Mayflower Bocawina National Park and Blue Hole Natural Monument, why not leave a meaningful impact while you explore Belize? Learn more at www.apamobelize.com, or contact their Communications & Marketing Officer at [email protected].
Programme for Belize invites you to explore our La Milpa and Hill Bank Lodges, the environs and by extension the entire Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area! Conservation; Nestled deep in the sub-tropical forest of north-western Belize and renowned for being the largest private reserve and second largest single protected area in the country. Forestry; The RBCMA therefore plays a significant part in biodiversity conservation on a national scale, in the role of private reserves within the national protected area network and the economy of the region. Research; Problems of the world today are also being addressed through ecological research to maintain the diversity of life and clarify the impacts of different human activities on the forest ecosystem.
Since its formation in 1969, the Belize Audubon Society (BAS) has been Belize’s foremost environmental organization protecting Belize’s precious natural resources while educating the public about their value and sustainable use. BAS has grown from an all-volunteer organization, to a Society with a staff of more than 40 dedicated professionals safeguarding 180,000 protected acres. More than half a century later, BAS continues to strive towards creating a balance between people and the environment.
Previously known as Sea to Shore (recently joined the CMA), has made critical advancements in their work with manatees, right whales, and sea turtles. Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute works to protect and conserve our world’s fragile coastal ecosystems and the endangered species that call them home. We focus on the conservation of flagship species, such as manatees, sea turtles, and right whales, to ensure greater protection for the species themselves and for the sensitive habitats these animals rely on around the world. Jamal Galvez, National Geographic Explorer, heads up the Belize team and is very active in the conservation of Belize’s Manatees.
Founded in 1998, CZMAI works towards supporting the allocation, sustainable use, and planned development of Belize's coastal resources through increased knowledge and the building of alliances for the benefit of all Belizeans and the global community. The mission is accomplished through the efforts of several monitoring and research programs.
For over 10 years, this non-profit organization has been carrying out crucial coral and reef restoration work, and is now considered the Caribbean’s most successful reef restoration project. Without healthy corals, the waters of Belize would not be as attractive and vibrant as before and the entire ecosystems would suffer.
In 1996, Belize was considered a pioneer with the passing of the PACT Act. Today, the protected areas landscape continues to take shape and expand. Currently, there are 103 protected areas that form a vast national protected areas system (NPAS), with categories that encompass forest reserves, nature reserves, national parks, marine reserves, private reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural monuments, bird sanctuaries, spawning aggregation reserves, and archaeological reserves.
Aims to educate people on the importance of ocean conservation while creating accessibility to naturally marine-degradable products in Belize and the Caribbean, primarily paper straws. Over 500 million straws are used per day in the US alone, and although straws amount to a small fraction of ocean plastic, they are one of the most dangerous polluters. Their small size means they entangle marine animals, and are easily consumed by fish. Paper is one of the most sustainable ways to make a switch!
TIDE is an NGO in Southern Belize. Through Education and Research, TIDe raises awareness on the conservation of Port Honduras Marine Reserve, its manatee population and the resident Yellow Headed Parrots. Meanwhile, its subsidiary TIDE Tours promotes sustainable tourism by supporting the work TIDE does through educational adventures in Port Honduras Marine Reserve and TIDE Private Protected lands. Moreover, every adventures through TIDE Tours supports communities and conservation works that TIDE does.
Mr Goby and Friends is a recycling project in Placencia collecting plastic bottles and caps that are then donated to specific organization to be repurposed. They additionally host weekly clean ups in and around Placencia as a means to increase awareness and decrease environmental pollution. They also create videos to educate the public about pollution issues or ways to avoid plastics. One of the amazing things about this project is that, the recycling bins are shaped like marine animals, giving an exciting and pleasurable look at disposing trash. The kids absolutely love it!
Do you know any person or business who is doing their part to make Belize a greener place? We would love to know about. Fill out the form Belize to send us their information and what they’re doing in Belize or throughout the Caribbean in Conservation.