Shine a light: support conservation in Southeast Asia

11 May

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Many of our most memorable experiences happened during the two-plus years we sailed through Southeast Asia. Most of them conjure the fascinating culture, rich history, or just plain beautiful places- like Komodo National Park, above.

Unfortunately, a lot of what also sticks wasn’t so pretty: like radical deforestation for palm oil plantations. Reefs destroyed by dynamite fishing. National parks abused when they are unable to protect their resources. The terrible plight of Papuans in Indonesia. It’s a gut wrenching feeling, to become intimate with the challenges that compromise the integrity of a place, or the basic rights of a people, and yet feel powerless to really do anything.

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Jase Kovacs and his partner Jolene have seen many of the same things we did during the last couple of years as they sailed through Southeast Asia. But instead of gallivanting west like we are, they’re sticking around – and making plans to make a difference.

Back in 2013, Jase cashed in his life’s savings to buy a thirty-plus year old trimaran named Labyrinth. Now he, Jolene, and their friends James and Roxanne are embarking on Voyage of the Labyrinth: an adventure film series that follows their journey through Southeast Asia, using their talents to grow awareness of the conservation issues in hotspots around the region, and doing what they can to promote and support solutions- like working with reef conservations groups, and organizations removing ghost nets.

They’re raising money to fund operational costs of three feature documentaries (one each focused in Borneo, Philippines, and Indonesia) and many mini-episodes. Their fundraising goal- $11,000- is a shoestring budget to take a crew of four through this territory for seven months.  Check out their pilot on Vimeo, to get a feel for what Team Labyrinth can share.

Jase and crew don’t just want to shine a big fat spotlight on conservation issues- which would be great- they want to do more, by illuminate the complexities behind a problem and showing a way forward. And, they’re hands on, doing what they can along the way- like dealing with ghost nets and garbage. They produced Ghost Nets in Borneo about Borneo-based dive company DiveDownBelow, who remove nets when they aren’t taking clients out to reefs.

Ghost Nets in Borneo from Jase Kovacs on Vimeo.

Team Labyrinth plans to cover five thousand miles over seven months. They’ve got the technical skills, from diving to filmmaking. They’ve invested in relationships with conservations groups and NGOs around the region. It’s a very real opportunity take an important message to a broader audience. They just need a little help to close the gap!

I would love so much to see Team Labyrinth get funded. It’s not just going to benefit the folks who can buy a DVD: all their mini-episodes along the way will be shared on YouTube. Besides offering both a peek into what life is really like on a cruising boat, they’ll highlight conservation issues: the kind of exposure many of these issues need. With broader outside awareness, pressure can be applied to stop deforestation, stop dynamite fishing, stop humans from being displaced.

There’s only a few days left to reach their Kickstarter fundraising goal, or they may not be going anywhere. If you can’t donate, you can share! Tell someone, or pass a link. And believe with me that they’ll get to make these films, and make a difference in Southeast Asia.

Thoughtful readers know we’re always grateful when you click through to read this on Sailfeed. Thank you!

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