We also started collaborating with schools in the High Atlas and carried out writing workshops for students interested to join the competition. At the Dar Taliba boarding house for girls, we held an interactive session and talked about all aspects of biodiversity through a conservation hangman exercise and quiz while exploring environmental challenges such as climate change and species extinction. Students also talked about traditional land use practices found in Amazigh communities and relationships between people and nature in the High Atlas. At the end of workshop, the girls picked up their pens and started writing down ideas for their stories and main characters. “I am going to write about my grandfather, and how he spends his days in the field”, Dar Taliba student Ilham says. “My story will talk about Mohamed,a man who’s following in his father’s footsteps to protect a forest man and never allowing people to cut trees and destroy the forest” her classmate Salma added. We can’t wait to read the final results and share them with you!

Until then, you can visit www.rootedeveryday.org/medstoryprize/ to learn more about how to enter the short story writing competition and the exciting Prizes to win. Happy storytelling!

By Pommelien da Silva Cosme, Mediterranean Programme and Communications Coordinator, Global Diversity Foundation

It’s been an exciting few months since the start of #RootedEveryday, a recently launched campaign aimed at raising awareness about the value of biodiversity and traditional practices in the Mediterranean.

At the beginning of April, #RootedEveryday launched the very first Mediterranean environment themed writing competition to celebrate the rich culture and nature found in Mediterranean ecoregions. The #MedStoryPrize is calling on writers to submit inspiring stories about the richness of nature and urgency for preserving it, including relationships between planet and people, especially those whose livelihoods depend on traditional and sustainable practices.

To kickstart the campaign, we joined the Morocco Library Project (MLP) at their Book Fair in Marrakech during the first weekend of April. Since 2014, the Morocco Library Project has been creating libraries in different schools in Morocco and established a wide network of inspiring teachers that are passionate about books and storytelling. At the Book Fair, we introduced the #MedStoryPrize to 30 teachers from all over Morocco and talked about both the adult (3000 words) and children’s (500-1000 words) writing competitions. During the event, we met two of our readers, Larbi and Ali, who will support the competition by reading stories and collaborating with Brahim El Boukhari, our national judge in Morocco.

We also started collaborating with schools in the High Atlas and carried out writing workshops for students interested to join the competition. At the Dar Taliba boarding house for girls, we held an interactive session and talked about all aspects of biodiversity through a conservation hangman exercise and quiz while exploring environmental challenges such as climate change and species extinction. Students also talked about traditional land use practices found in Amazigh communities and relationships between people and nature in the High Atlas. At the end of workshop, the girls picked up their pens and started writing down ideas for their stories and main characters. “I am going to write about my grandfather, and how he spends his days in the field”, Dar Taliba student Ilham says. “My story will talk about Mohamed,a man who’s following in his father’s footsteps to protect a forest man and never allowing people to cut trees and destroy the forest” her classmate Salma added. We can’t wait to read the final results and share them with you!

Until then, you can visit www.rootedeveryday.org/medstoryprize/ to learn more about how to enter the short story writing competition and the exciting Prizes to win. Happy storytelling!

By Pommelien da Silva Cosme, Mediterranean Programme and Communications Coordinator, Global Diversity Foundation

GDF works closely with partners in the pilot site project—Cultural Landscape Management in the Moroccan High Atlas—to assess and monitor the status of biodiversity in the context of environmental change, document sustainable land use practices and how these are changing, and analyse the ability of traditional governance systems to be maintained in a shifting political landscape.

You Can Change the World if You Can Just Write.

The artist, in my case the writer, should do more, they should be part of the community to which they belong. I think that what makes us different from animals is more than just language, it’s our ability to create amazing stories and inspire or be inspired by them.
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The Power of Words

When we can’t identify the plants and insects and animals, we find it easier to forget them, and thus to sit aside as they get erased, driven to extinction under the cancer of capitalism, of an urban concrete, and of monoculture so-called agriculture.
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Little Things Matter

A couple of months ago, I was driving to Agadir, a beautiful city in the south of Morocco, while a neighbor of mine was in the passenger seat devouring a sandwich and drinking lemonade. When he ate up everything, he proudly opened his window and shamelessly threw away his leftovers, a lemonade can and a plastic bag. I immediately pulled over.
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Writing Stories, an Effective Tool for Change

The one thing I love most about writing is the act of siting down, reflecting, gathering your thoughts and composing words with the aim to reach out to every single person in a different way. Writing has always been a powerful tool to document peoples’ stories, emotions, inventions and ideas from one generation to another.
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The Forest and Landscape Restoration Approach to Managing the Shouf Biosphere Reserve

Declared a nature reserve in 1996, less than 10 years later it was gazetted a biosphere reserve with the name Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR), in July 2005. With an area of approximately 50,000 hectares—or 5% of the total area of Lebanon—SBR includes, in addition to Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve, 22 surrounding villages and Ammiq Wetland, a Ramsar site and one of the last remaining wetlands in the Middle East.
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Knowledge and Monitoring of Biodiversity

Humans have inhabited and shaped Mediterranean landscapes for millennia, developing mutual relationships between themselves and the environment. But, how can we prove that some cultural practices are beneficial for biodiversity?
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La Demeure Sans Limites – The Place of No Limits

In the context of the Roads Less Travelled project, DiversEarth is undertaking the biggest inventory of Sacred Sites in the Mediterranean to date, and looking closer at certain places to find out just what makes these sites so important for biodiversity, for nature and for people of the region. This is one of the case studies from La Demeure Sans Limites, Zen Soto Buddhist site in Saint Agrève, Ardèche, France.
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Life in the “Mandra”, Past, Present and Future

On Lemnos Island, a Greek island in the northern part of the Aegean Sea, life in rural areas was centred for centuries around “mandras”, a system of buildings constructed around pens, which served agricultural, stock-breeding and everyday needs. The majority of people on the island lived off their land as both farmers and stock breeders. Mandras served their unique way of life.
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