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Research network Marine Sciences For Society recognized for 'Zero Plastic' with Biosphere Reserves

In Lanzarote (Canary Islands, Spain) on Tuesday, 15 February, 2022, the Spanish Network of Biosphere Reserves of the Autonomous Agency for National Parks presented the coordinators of Marine Sciences For Society Bethany Jorgensen (MSFS@CEL_Cornell) and Juan Baztan (MSFS@CEARC_UPS) with the first Biosphere Reserve Recognition for Environmental Commitment for Promoting research and environmental education in Biosphere Reserves through the Zero Plastic initiative. The award was conferred by Councilor Elena Solís.


The Zero Plastic initiative works to understand and eliminate the negative impacts of plastics in Biosphere Reserves. The initial phase, from 2008-2018, centered on the collaboration between the Lanzarote Biosphere Reserve and the Marine Sciences For Society network of researchers. The Second phase, from 2018 continuing to today in 2022, the on-going effort with the Lanzarote Biosphere Reserve grew to include the Menorca Biosphere Reserve, which is the technical co-secretariat for the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves, along with 22 additional Biosphere Reserves who have joined the Zero Plastic initiative.


Today, 24 Biosphere Reserves actively participate in the environmental commitment represented by Zero Plastic: Archipelago Sea Area (Finland), Blekinge Archipelago (Sweden), Cape Winelands (South Africa), Cat Ba Archipelago (Vietnam), Commander Islands (Russian Federation), Fuerteventura (Spain), Fundy (Canada), Gran Canaria (Spain), Islands of Iroise Sea (France), Isle of Man (UK), Jeju Island (Republic of Korea), Karst and Reka River Basin (Slovenia), La Palma (Spain), La Selle (Haiti), Lanzarote (Spain), Mariñas Coruñesas e Terras do Mandeo (Spain), Menorca (Spain), Ometepe Island (Nicaragua), Palawan (Philippines), Península de Guanahacabibes (Cuba), Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano (Mexico), Socotra Archipelago (Yemen), Terres de l’Ebre (Spain), Urdaibai (Spain).

This collective effort works to identify the impacts of plastic pollution and minimize the disastrous consequences of the abusive production and use of plastic.


The experiences of the Biosphere Reserves in the Zero Plastic initiative illustrate the importance of emphasizing human dimensions of Global Change, particularly from the margins of civilization. The perspectives of those on islands and coastal zones allow prescient insight on the vulnerability of our societies – how fragile and insignificant we are in the vast whole of biospheric complexity.


The award for Zero Plastic recognizes the shared effort between the network of researchers Marine Sciences For Society and the Biosphere Reserves, and the importance of science and education in collective processes of eco-social transformation. This recognition from the Spanish Network of Biosphere Reserves of the Autonomous Agency for National Parks serves as a milestone on the path toward launching the Eco-social Transformation Laboratory (ETLab-UNESCO).


Councilor Elena Solís of Lanzarote, members of the Lanzarote and Menorca Biosphere Reserves, representatives of the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves and the Spanish Network of Biosphere Reserves of the Autonomous Agency for National Parks, awarded this recognition to the coordinators of Marine Sciences For Society Bethany Jorgensen (MSFS @CEL_Cornell) and Juan Baztan (MSFS @CEARC_UPS) for the ‘Zero Plastic’ initiative and the ‘Promotion of environmental research and education’ in Biosphere Reserves.


Thanks @UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme, @Marine Sciences For Society, @World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves, @Organismo Autónomo Parques Nacionales. We are working on the next phases for @Agüita con el plástico, @Zero Plastic :) +++

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