charitable organization headquartered in
, that works to preserve island
and cultures around the world. Founded in 1991, it began with the work of
Paul Alan Cox
, who researched tropical plants and their medicinal value in the village of
during the mid-1980s. When the villagers were pressured into selling
rights to their
in 1988 to build a new school, Cox and his wife offered to help secure funds for the new school in return for an agreement with the villagers to protect their forest. With the help of his friends and family, Cox secured the funds within six months, later earning him and the village chief,
Goldman Environmental Prize
for their efforts. Word spread throughout the islands, and with increasing demand for similar projects, Cox, along with Bill Marré and Ken Murdock, decided to form Seacology and expand their work internationally. For the first few years, the organization operated on a volunteer basis.
became the first employee in 1999, and headquarters were relocated to Berkeley, not far from his residence.
Because of the high risk of extinction for island
and the decline in
ecosystems, Seacology's primary focus is projects in which villagers sign contracts under which they agree to help protect either terrestrial or marine habitat for a specified time in return for new buildings or services. The operations are low-cost, averaging around
20,000 to $25,000. Construction is done with local labor and sometimes without the use of machinery. Seacology selects its projects by reviewing the recommendations of its field representatives and its scientific advisory board. (