The Guam Green Growth Initiative (G3) places Guam at the global forefront of leadership in island sustainability by developing tangible solutions to sustainability challenges and contributing to a green economy for the island region. Since 2019, Guam has united with islands around the world in advancing the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through locally-informed and culturally-driven strategies. The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program’s 2019 Sea Grant Knauss Fellow, Lauren Swaddell, has been at the forefront of it all as the coordinator of G3, using her scientific and policy experience to work toward island sustainability.
As the G3 coordinator, Lauren meets with leaders in Guam to discuss strategies to improve island sustainability in order to benefit terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem health. G3 works to engage local agencies and groups in sustainability initiatives, including projects focused on recycling and waste, watershed restoration, and sustainable tourism. In order to accomplish these goals and improve coral ecosystem health, G3 is collaborating with partners to regulate fisheries, address land based sources of pollution, and incorporate climate resilience and climate action into its action framework. “Sustainability is more than natural resources. It’s socioeconomics, health and well-being, and incorporates peace and justice,” says Lauren.
Everyday, Lauren uses her facilitation and planning skills she gained while coordinating the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) as the CRCP Knauss Fellow. Navigating working with partners in 13 federal agencies and seven jurisdictions with different backgrounds, but the same goal of protecting and preserving U.S. coral reefs more than prepared her for her current position. Much like the USCRTF, G3 and partners have been focusing on integrating the expertise of multiple people from local government agencies, universities, and the tourism industry in order to increase awareness of coral reef ecosystem health around the island. Lauren even created a foundational structure similar to that of the USCRTF for G3 to conquer the task of increasing island sustainability.
We love staying in touch with our Knauss Fellows and seeing how they use their skills and experience gained from their fellowship year! Lauren still works with the USCRTF by participating on Watershed Working Group calls and updating group members on sustainability initiatives and watershed management on Guam. We are excited to keep up with Lauren as she leads G3’s mission to cultivate an ecosystem for transformative action to achieve a more sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future for Guam.
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program was established in 2000 by the Coral Reef Conservation Act. Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the program is part of NOAA's Office for Coastal Management.