Belizean women to be highlighted for conservation efforts in new documentary

Belizean women to be highlighted for conservation efforts in new documentary

Twenty-one Belizean women are being highlighted for their significant role in conserving and preserving Belize’s marine space. The female wave-makers, who hail from across the country, are being featured in a documentary called “UnBelizeableBlue”. The film, which is being shot by a production team out of the United States, will document the group of women as they work to protect the world’s second-largest coral reef system. Philip Karp, Story Originator and one of the Directors, explained the importance of highlighting the women and their work in safeguarding Belize’s marine ecosystems.

Philip “Phil” Karp, Director UnBelizeablue: “It’s really remarkable how much of the work that’s being done in Belize to protect the marine environment is being led by women whether in Government or in the NGO sector or even in businesses that rely on marine products for the livelihood and we realized this when we were doing a little bit of research for the story. In fact we talked to the Healthy Reef Initiative which supports marine conservation in all five of the Mesoamerican Reef countries and they had done a gender mapping of the leadership of the organizations and they found that of their partners in Mexico less than a quarter were led by women, the second highest was Honduras at about 45% and then Belize it was more than 90%. We came up with the story idea about three years ago. We started production last March. We made three filming trips to Belize last year and we’re currently in the midst of our final filming trip. It’s gonna be a feature length documentary about a hundred minutes and we expect to complete the film by the end of this year and have it ready to premier sometime during the first quarter of next year.”

The efforts of the women featured in the film aid in protecting the livelihoods supported by the country’s marine resources. Dianny Enriquez, CEO of the Belize Lionfish Souvenirs and Adventures, is a featured woman. Today, Love News spoke to Henriquez about her experience and role in safeguarding Belize’s marine resources. 

Dianny Henriquez, Owner, Lionfish Souvenirs and Adventures: “I’m very excited to be a part of this documentary because the main focus is to actually highlight all the importance about Belize and our economy and environment, how we should take care of our environment that’s the most important part. We just don’t talk about the finance but also about taking care of the environment and how we play our role in this.”

Reporter: What went through your mind when you were informed that you were selected and you were going to be a part of this film ? 

Dianny Henriquez, Owner, Lionfish Souvenirs and Adventures: “Well I was very excited because at least Belize and whoever else is out there can get to see what role I play in my business and I play a huge role by really taking the reef importantly and educating people about it which that’s our main thing is education with demonstration. My main role is to hunt for the Lion Fish. We educate people about it because on the way back they get to see how we clean it, how we take off the fins to make a piece of jewelry, if they would like to participate in making their own they can also do it and that’s why we want them to interact more deeply with the environment and that’s the way you get to appreciate it better.”

Reporter: And how beneficial is it to remove this invasive species from our reef system ?

Dianny Henriquez, Owner, Lionfish Souvenirs and Adventures: “Well it’s very important because it eats out our juvenile fish by 80% and I’d like to see in this sense in that we need bees for pollination even though they look so insignificant but our juvenile fish play the same role in our ecosystem. They’re our pollinators for coral reefs so if we start losing it we start losing our reefs as well and that’s why we see the health impact already decreasing. So if we’re not taking care of it by having all the settlements of the cruise ships and the climate change and on top of it the Lion Fish doing its damage we can already see the impact it’s creating in our ecosystem so that’s the reason why I like to educate people about it so maybe we can have more people interested in helping with the solution as well.”

Karp further explained that Belize’s Blue Bond initiative, a debt for nature swap, is a storyline highlighted in the film. He spoke about how the film will highlight the country’s collective efforts to protect its sea space.

Philip “Phil” Karp, Director UnBelizeablue: “We’re trying to convey the characters as people. So of course we cover the marine conservation topics but our main characters who are Janet Gibson, Janelle Chanona, Nadia Bood, Rachel Graham we go really into a little bit more about their personal stories, you know how they got involved, how they feel about the fact that you know so many of the conservation organizations are led by women. We want to have a story that both will accurately convey the achievements but also the remaining challenges but also leave people with a sense of what can be done going forward not only by people in Belize but globally so we’re trying to motivate a global audience to take action on the things that are beyond the control of an individual country. Things like anthropogenic changes that affect the ocean. We also have Dr.Sylvia Earl to give an international perspective who is probably the most well known female marine scientist in the world so we’re really thrilled to have her involved and she talks not only about Belize but also about women’s leadership.”

A pre-screening of the film and a panel discussion moderated by US Ambassador, Michele Kwan, was held today via a live stream. /


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