From Courtney Cardin, JD Co-founder Aura Finance
I first arrived in The Bahamas in March 2020 just before the borders closed and six months after the 48-hour long Category 5 storm, Hurricane Dorian ravaged the country. The ecosystem and infrastructure losses were tremendous. In addition to the millions of dollars of damage to the island, we lost 44,000 acres of mangrove forests. This crucial player in the protective ecosystem guarded the island against 220-mph winds and 20 foot storm surges. The miles of dried out branches that sit along the coast stand as relics of the hard-fought battle against the strongest storm to ever hit the region.
As an entrepreneur with a background in law and politics, I was able to connect with the local advocacy groups leading restoration and community engagement workshops. I offered to assist with back office grant writing and organizational support. We applied for and received a grant to build our own mangrove nursery and organize community engagement programs. We brought in mangrove restoration specialists from around the world to train the local community on the best practices for cultivating and caring for mangrove forests and we’re weeks away for launching a community-wide mangrove collection competition that will serve as an educational and workforce development opportunity. We’ve designed the program to be scalable and replicable and hope that it will become a new model for inclusive economic development in coastal communities around the world.
You don’t have to live in a coastal community to understand the devastation of climate change first hand. You can volunteer for local conservation organizations using the skills you already have - organizing, writing, fundraising, or sharing on social media – this is a space where we cannot let perfect be the enemy of the good and where an extra set of hands can really make a difference in scaling impact.
You can also help support front-line communities by following their progress. You can adopt-a-coral to help restore dying coral reefs, you can donate to Waterkeepers Bahamas to help support mangrove restoration, and you can visit our farm and help us plant mangroves and coral to restore our mangrove forests and coral reefs that provide the first line of defense for us and so many other coastal communities. Whatever you do, just find people you trust and start doing something. The climate crisis is here now and It’s all hands on deck.”
Courtney Cardin is the cofounder of Aura Finance, an inclusive financial wellness and investment platform leveraging behavioral psychology and industry-standard investment practices to help underserved individuals understand their money mindset and gain the confidence to put their money to work. Cardin is a trained attorney who left her career in law to launch an impact consulting business, BC Global Partners, that advised clients around the world on sustainable investment and inclusive growth. She’s spent more than a decade working at the intersection of politics, policy, and finance to develop and implement inclusive economic development initiatives and models to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
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