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Coastal Workers: Protecting Coastal Communities
A coastal worker lives and works on the coast year round. There are innumerable and indispensable tasks to be carried out by teams in order to preserve our natural coastal environment. Coastal workers must maintain an inventory, monitor pollution, clean beaches and pathways, and maintain green zones. Their duties may change with the seasons.
In 1994, the region of Mortaix in Brittany was chosen to test this service. The first team of coastal workers, drawn primarily from the long-term unemployed, brought the knowledge they had acquired through a thorough training and internship program to the sustainable development of the Breton coast. The coastal workers proved the need for such a profession and, in 1998, this job was officially defined, with a listing of all its duties.
In order to perpetuate the profession and to protect coastal zones, Equipe Cousteau and The Cousteau Society propose a new standard. Communities are invited to establish the status of their environment and to resolve environmental problems (maintenance of hiking paths, pruning, picking up trash, etc.) through the use of coastal workers.
After being tested in several communities along the French coast, the profession of coastal worker has taken a new direction. Equipe Cousteau and The Cousteau Society have proposed the creation in Pleneuf, Brittany, of a Cousteau Place, with the objective of popularizing this approach to maintaining rural coastal areas throughout France. This pilot project will hopefully lead to regional and inter-regional research, studies of management practices and, ultimately, the creation of many institutions to help manage our natural heritage.
In association with Littoral Services, a national federation of coastal management operators, Equipe Cousteau and The Cousteau Society have proposed a course of training for coastal workers that is adapted to the needs of littoral communities. This body of knowledge will build a veritable employment network that will extend throughout France and all over the planet, to protect and rehabilitate Earth for generations to come.
Improving the Quality of the Coastal Environment
The pilot area for this program of natural-resource management will need to meet certain conditions, such as an infrastructure that facilitates access and sufficient yearly capacities in terms of permanent personnel, training and conferences.
The restoration of the worlds coasts, brought about through partnership with candidate countries, will be based on the Cousteau Charter and Label, which set forth a code of conduct that will improve the quality of the areas environment. Coastal workers, whose course of training will be open to populations affected by unemployment (agriculture, fishing, etc.), will be able to carry out this global and sustainable management of coastal zones. These areas will quickly realize a new prosperity born of their work.
Currently, Gilles de Villartay directs the engineering of new environmental professions. He is the creator of this new profession of Coastal Worker, which he tested and refined over a number of years in the context of his original organization Sea Star, dedicated to fighting poverty and insecurity. For more information about the program, please contact Equipe Cousteau in France (92 avenue Kleber, 75116 Paris).