Can a year without tourism on Gili Trawangan save the environment?

2020 didn’t shape up to be what anyone in the world thought it would be, but with Gili Eco Trust’s mission to never give up hope, we wanted to inform you of some of the highlights and campaigns we have managed to keep on running whilst tourism is at the lowest on record on Gili Trawangan. 
Not only that, but we’ve included some amazing and easy ways that our remote supporters can actively do to help whilst you await your return. 

  • Island and national fundraisers
  • Cat Clinics & Patrols
  • Cleaning the island & beaches
  • Coral regeneration
  • Mooring installation
  • Tree planting
  • Podcasts & International outreach

Treevolution: Successes and this Year’s Goals

Suparman has lived up to his name and kept islanders motivated, full of greenery and life!

We’ve had multiple Treevolutions throughout 2020 and the first one of 2021 with an extra special Valentine’s Day Treevolution. We gave some love back to the beaches, by planting 20 banyan trees that were supplied by the local government + 80 flamboyant trees. Banyan trees have thick root structures and offer tree-mendous amounts of shade (and look beautiful!) so they will be a great addition to our ever-eroding beaches.

Edible Garden Workshops

2021 is showing sustainability in a new light. It isn’t sustainable to keep importing our food from the mainland when there are no jobs and people have very little money. The aim of this year is to flood the island with fruit trees and encourage locals to grow edible gardens. We’ve had help from We4All, who sponsored the purchase of more than 80 lemon, lime, papaya and passionfruit trees to plant all over Gili Trawangan. Islanders came to the Treevolution and the first Edible Gardens Workshop to learn how to take care of their young trees.

Teaching English in the local school – Creating rapport & building a new young eco-army!

With all the ‘time on our hands’, project manager Delphine has signed up to three days at school a week teaching English to children in the SMP school. Throughout these tough times, it is important that kids still have a routine (working online and at home just isn’t possible for these children) and eventually these English lessons will take on am environmental stance, building rapport and confidence amongst the local school kids to be able to educate them on how to help their island in the future.

Youth movements 

We’ve seen a rise in youth movements helping in conservation across Gili T. Gili Fam – a group of friends committed to cleaning up the beaches meet every Thursday outside Blue Marine Dive and clean towards the north, or wherever may be very polluted, whilst sorting, separating and educating as they go!

Podcasts: Shouting Loud & Proud

Did you hear Delphine Robbe on the latest episode of Shoot It Raw? She and Ray talk about the start of the Gili Eco Trust, and Delphine’s passions and driving forces to continue to protect our island.
You can find the podcast and listen HERE.

TruTravels TravelTruths podcast featured comms manager Sian on plastic pollution, Gili Eco Trust and sustainable tourism which you can watch here or listen to here.

Sian also went on to record on Water Women’s Podcast, a marine biology podcast explaining a bit more about our eco-touristic activities and how we are working to educate and inspire everyone that visits our island to be more mindful of the environment during their stay. It was aired on March 1st over on Spotify. 

Horses and 2021 calendar
We’ve taken a break from our yearly charity calendar and helped the STUD Horse Riding and Rescue stables to create theirs! Showcasing some of the finest stud’s Gili Trawangan has to offer, along with the 17 horses that live there, every calendar sold is helping to feed and care for the ponies whilst tourism has effectively stopped their only means on income, salary and survival. You can purchase one online HERE.

Cat Clinics & vet
The Cats of Gili have been struggling since some of their income was coming from islanders buying cat food and have since left the island. The Pussy Patrol daily feedings have been in place for almost one year now with high costs for cat food feeding 80-120 cats daily.
A newly qualified vet has spent most of 2020 assisting the cat shop with daily neutering programs, check-ups and vaccinations for island cats/animals. Her small salary is supported by the Cats Of Gili and you can help donate HERE to help us ensure we can offer this amazing free service for islanders to keep the welfare of our cats a priority.

No Anchors in Gili Matra: Mooring Updates
Our 2019 fundraising campaigns helped fund 56 mooring blocks to be made on the beaches and in March ’20 they were created and ready to be installed. This is when we lost all of our volunteers who had to head back home so the mooring blocks have been waiting on the beach and slowly getting buried by sand.
However, we’ve seen almost a 80% decrease in illegal boat landings and anchorings in study areas, with less demand for beach parking, the corals finally have a chance to regenerate after constant anchor damage.

Fundraisers: DJ set
With many people still in lockdown, our supporters have found some ingenious ways to fundraise and support us whilst we’ve had no local donations. We’ve just had a FUN fundraiser where DJ Skydanc3r played two 2 hour sets that were listened to across the world in support of the Biorock and coral restoration projects. Listening in, we made $430 which is halfway towards funding a new set of cables to power up to 15 Biorocks. These cables have started to go missing because we invest inexpensive, long-lasting cables, the copper inside can be stripped and sold in Lombok, so sadly unemployed people have taken to stealing even underwater! We hope to be able to replace as many cables as we can before the season and oceans get a bit warmer, helping to protect from coral bleaching.

Beach cleans
Our Debris Free Friday beach clean initiative was stopped for a few months due to the lockdown, business closures and social distancing measures.
Even with a huge break, and no tourists to join our cleanups, we still managed to collect more than 5 tonnes of marine pollution from the beaches, with the help of some very dedicated islanders and freshly baked doughnuts.

#FinditFillit campaign
The #finditfillit campaign was initiated to encourage islanders to pick up whatever marine debris they find on the beach, fill a bag, cup, bottle or hand and take a photo, tagging Gili Eco Trust so we can continue to document plastic pollution whereabouts whilst maintaining social distancing measures.

The best thing is, you can do this from anywhere, whilst you’re patiently waiting to return to the Gilis again.

What YOU Can Do To Help the Gili Islands
The feeling of helplessness and frustration of not being able to travel, explore, conserve and protect is huge right now. 
We’ve collected together some ways that YOU can help, even from afar!

Sponsor your own beach clean!
Since most of the businesses remain closed on Gili Trawangan, we’ve had to stop offering a free beer to beach cleaners to keeps costs down. We’ve found a local cook who has helped us provide doughnuts each week, along with cleaning equipment and the sorted trash pick up costs $20USD, Each clean up we’ve been collecting between 60-120kg of marine debris (amazing! But still less, due to lack of volunteers) so if you want to help the oceans, and clean up Gili even from the comfort of your home you could sponsor your very own beach clean for just $20!
You can sponsor your beach clean via PayPal with the comment #plasticfreeparadise beach clean: YOUR NAME and we’ll be sure to give you a shout out across our socials and with our volunteers. An amazing and unique gift for a friend or Gili T lover!

Helpfreely – Help for Free
The whole world is operating and connecting more online as WFH has helped millions of people keep their jobs and work remotely. For those who are spending more time shopping online as well, you can download this charity app which helps you to help Gili Eco Trust for free whilst shopping at a huge number of online stores.
By saving this widget on your desktop, it will automatically tell you when you are shopping from a participating website, who will donate a portion of your payment to the Gili Eco Trust, at no charge extra to you. It’s a great free tool to help bring in some small donations whilst you shop!
You can find the link to download it to your desktop or mobile shopping below:

Again, we thank you for your support throughout these tough times, we know so many people only want to get back out here and be able to help for themselves, whilst the country is closed, your help and donations have meant we can keep these vital projects going!
Terima kasih!


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