World Mangrove Day Film Release: Voices of Mida Creek-in loving memory of Arafa

July 26 is World Mangrove Day–formally named as International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem by the United Nations when they designated it back in 2015. 

Call it what you like, but just grab some sea-salted popcorn while you're doing it because we're launching our own block-buster movie, Voices of Mida Creek, to celebrate the day.  

Made with our award-winning friends at Backroads Pictures, the film follows a group of passionate change-making individuals working with their local communities and our local restoration partner COBEC, to regenerate Mida Creek’s intriguing maze of mangrove forest. 

The film and our project is set right where the UNESCO Designated Biosphere Area meets the wind and waves of the open ocean in one of the world’s oldest Marine Protected Areas. Like all mangrove forests, the SeaTrees of Mida Creek provide critical habitat for many sea creatures (including juvenile green and hawksbill sea turtles) that call the local coral reefs and sandy beaches home.

In loving memory of Arafa

Arafa Salim Baya, the beloved leader of the Mida Creek community (and the beating heart of our new film), has just passed away due to COVID-related complications between the filming and release of the film. As we mourn her passing with everyone else in her tight knit community, we hope this film serves to celebrate Arafa’s love of life, and to showcase her legacy of dedication to protecting the place she loved most in the world. 

To honor all of Arafa’s work to regenerate the people and the landscape of her community, we’ll be helping to host a community planting day in Mida Creek to celebrate World Mangrove Day, where 5000 mangrove seedlings will be planted in her memory, by the people who knew her best.

If you’d like to help celebrate Arafa’s legacy along with us – all profits from the sale of the SeaTrees Straw Pack through the end of August will be donated directly to Arafa’s family. We’ll be matching funds up to a total of $500.

Why are we so obsessed with planting and protecting mangrove trees? 

The same 5 reasons (+ more) that the United Nations is:

  1. Mangroves have evolved to thrive in hot, muddy, salty conditions that would quickly kill most plants. 
  1. Mangrove soils are highly effective carbon sinks, locking away large quantities of carbon and stopping It from entering the atmosphere. In addition, they are vital in helping society adapt to climate change impacts, reducing the impact of storms and sea-level rise.
  1. Mangroves are hotspots of biodiversity. Mangroves form the foundation of highly productive and biologically rich ecosystems; providing a home, nursery and feeding ground for a wide range of species of fish, birds, insects, reptiles. 
  1. Millions of people live close to and directly rely on mangroves for food, wood for building and fires, for income from fishing and tourism, and for mental and spiritual wellbeing. Mangroves contribute to international goals for poverty reduction, gender equality and clean water and sanitation.
  1. Mangroves are contributing an estimated US$33-57,000 per hectare per year to the national economies of developing countries with mangroves. 

Read more on the superpowers of mangroves from the United Nations Environment Programme.

Tell me more about the carbon storing superpowers of mangrove forests.

We’ve been talking about the super carbon-storing powers of mangrove forests for a couple of years, and we’re still learning more. Recent science has shown that mangrove forests on coral islands sequester 23 times more CO2 than previously thought, because mangrove sediments increase the alkalinity of nearby water.  This sequesters CO2 and improves the health of nearby coral reefs.  

We’re especially excited about this because Padaido Island, where we plant mangroves in Indonesia, is built on coral reef sediment. The research suggests that carbon sequestration at Padaido Island could be even higher than we had previously thought.  

Looking for a great way to support the planting of more SeaTrees in Mida Creek? 

Our partners at Marlin Ray have you covered with their beautiful organic cotton Surf Ponchos — which are made in Kenya at a fair-trade, carbon-neutral certified factory located near Mida Creek. Every Marlin Ray product sold helps to plant mangrove trees in Mida Creek.