Conservation OF NATURE
| ICONIC SUSTAINABILITY | Chiara Melani
With just over two months until the of cial debut of Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Cruises presented three exclusive partnerships for the new, revolutionary ship designed to sail the Galapagos Islands, built at the Dutch shipyard De Hoop in Rotterdam: an world-famous conservationist as Godmother, a visionary designer for onboard areas, and a prestigious university specializing in marine and atmospheric sciences for research.
Renowned interior and furniture designer – and Ecuadorian – Adriana Hoyos was the perfect choice because she draws inspiration from her travels and highlights the use of sustainable materials. Some of her unique pieces can be found on board in the Discovery Lounge, Penthouse Suites and the Marina. Able to accommodate 100 guests, the ship’s signature outward-facing design concept gives guests 360-degree views of the islands. On board all-suite accommodations – including 50% Sky Suites with In nite Veranda – are equipped with personal attendants. In addition, there are re ned restaurants, an open-air stargazing platform expert-led ecological seminars, and Novurania tenders for shore excursions, custom-made for Flora.
Celebrity Flora will sail from Baltra (South Seymour) all year round, and the rst cruise has set sail June 30, 2019. Seven-night packages alternate inner and outer loop itineraries and a selection of 10-, 11-, and 16-night packages are also available which feature either pre- or post-cruise expeditions. The godmother for Celebrity Flora, the most eco-friendly ship in the Galapagos, could only be Yolanda Kakabadse, prominent environmental leader and global champion of sustainable development and biodiversity preservation, as well as former Minister of Environment for the Republic of Ecuador and former president of both the International Union for Conservation of Nature and World Wildlife Fund International.
Her exclusive interview for GSM follows:
My heart is in nature conservation”, you have said on more than one occasion. How has this thought evolved over time?
We can guarantee quality of life for human societies only if nature is protected and used sustainably. Water, air, food security, that is, the very basics for wellbeing, depend on healthy ecosystems. Recognition of this “equation” has not changed. What has changed however is my focus on different priorities.
What are the biggest environmental and marine problems and what are the priorities for coastal protection?
Ocean pollution and over exploitation, and the abuse of freshwater in terrestrial ecosystems are probably the most serious threats of this decade. Coastal communities are amongst the most vulnerable. Their diets and economic activities depend on ocean resources, so their participation in de ning marine areas that need to be protected is essential. There are suf cient cases around the world that demonstrate the value of participatory management.
What do you think are the most urgent actions to take today?
Behavioral changes in individuals and societies, supported by public policy: elimination of single use plastics, reduction of food waste, control in freshwater use in urban and rural (agricultural) areas, transportation, are a few examples. Particular conditions in different countries will determine priorities which can’t be addressed through top-down rulings. Real solutions will be the result of social participation in prevention / reduction of risks.
How can protecting the marine environment and economic development coexist and help?
They need to go together! the ocean is vast enough to embrace protected areas and shing areas. Protection of coral reefs is essential for ocean life to
Celebrity Flora Seaside Restaurant continue. Over shing or irresponsible shing practices threaten a long term ocean economy.
What is the role of environmental associations?
Civil society groups concerned about sustainable development are important voices in decision making processes, in the de nition of public policies, in the implementation of actions and programs to reduce impact or improve conditions of deteriorated ecosystems. Societies are the bene ciaries or victims of development processes, therefore their active participation needs to be prioritized by governments and the private sector.
Tell us about your role as Celebrity Flora godmother.
It will start in a few weeks and I look forward to it. It’s a great opportunity to work with the company in developing or strengthening programs that can in uence many: tourists, local population in the Galapagos Islands, tourism service providers, etc.