Women have the power to become conservation leaders by taking decisions and leading—tapping into gaps and opportunities—in biodiversity conservation, and they’re doing it every day in Belize. As a new documentary film, UNBELIZEABLUE is putting a spotlight on diverse women conservation leaders in Belize striving to protect the second-largest coral reef system in the world and associated livelihoods. Like other coastal countries, Belize’s economy relies heavily on its marine resources. In fact, fishing and marine-based tourism sustain the livelihoods of more than 50% of the country’s citizens. Consequently, the equitable use of marine resources is of critical importance to Belizeans, who wish their natural capital to be conserved and reinvested in a sustainable way.
Striving For Balance
“But how can communities thrive while coexisting with their natural environment? Where do we draw the line between property development and environmental protection? How does a country choose between mass cruise ship tourism and eco-friendly overnight tourism? Who signs off on the tradeoff between offshore oil exploitation versus a potential natural disaster due to oil spills along pristine reefs? These are some of the critical questions and challenges that will be explored in the film.”
DIRECTOR: ELADIO ARVELO
PRODUCER: ELADIO ARVELO, SHAREEF HAQ, PHIL KARP, NYASHA LAING
Photos via UNBELIZEABLUE Facebook/Phil Karp
With regards to the film’s characters, Belize has the unique distinction that virtually all its local and international NGOs are led by women, as are key government departments associated with the protection of marine resources. This appears to be a multigenerational phenomenon where a group of women pioneers opened the door for the next generation of female conservation leaders, who are in turn boosting a newer generation to begin making their voices heard. Showcasing these women leaders and their stories will be the main plotline of UNBELIZEABLUE.
For local knowledge, the group is collaborating with Belizean film company Feste Films.
“Feste Films is known for its support to environmental efforts in Belize, so we are pleased to be working with Eclectic Aspirations. We are coming together to tell the stories of remarkable conservation efforts led by remarkable women,” stated Feste Films Co-Director, Kimberly Bowman, who serves as Belizean Production Manager for this third filming trip.