Fiji is an island nation featuring over 300 islands, and approximately another 500 islets, although only around 100 are inhabited. It is perhaps best known for its underwater life, featuring over 2,000,000 acres of reef. Researchers have recorded close to 300 species of coral and believe that further remain to be discovered. Five of the world’s seven species of sea turtle can be seen here and fifteen species of whales and dolphins. Lesser known, but by no means less scenic, are the nation’s lush forest habitats, featuring mountain peaks and waterfalls.
UC Irvine Impact Academy students are stationed on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, in the capital of Suva. From here, many travelers journey to other island groups like the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands.
Fiji, like many other island nations around the world, has been negatively affected by coral bleaching, a result of warming ocean temperatures caused by the climate crisis. In addition, subsistence and commercial fishing, as well as fishing for ornamental coral aquariums has resulted in low numbers and, in some cases, potential extinction of marine species.
Unfortunately, conventional ways of protecting marine ecosystems have not proven effective so Fiji’s government partners with local tribal community authorities to implement seasonal fishing bans of marine protected areas (MPAs).
- Examine how local authorities are assisting communities that have lost their homes as a result of the rising sea levels caused by the climate crisis.
- Investigate the challenges faced by initiatives working to implement more compost toilets and rainwater harvesting systems.
- Learn and analyze how the Fijian health ministry is working to create awareness of recycling practices in order to decrease the burning of plastic waste.
- Study how community health workers are working to assist communities with improving maternal, prenatal, infant and toddler health.