To succeed, these undersea farmers must grow their aquatic crop in pristine, delicate waters, an environment they’re so dedicated to protect, many have adopted rules that do more than sustain their environment . The policy at Kamoka Pearls is something the family proudly calls “Beyond Sustainability”, a commitment to adopt business practices that actually improve local water, land and sea life, making the ecosystem better than it was when they started their business
Does it work? As documented by a team of scientists from National Geographic, the farm’s “Beyond Sustainability” policy has succeeded in making the island and lagoon where the family lives and works a better environment for all local land and sea life. One metric their particularly proud of – an increase in the health and number of fish species in the ocean waters where Kamoka Farm pearls are cultivated. “The ocean is everything to us!” said Brash.
The emotional connection Brash and other pearl farmers have with their local waters has inspired eco-friendly CEOs throughout the jewelry industry, including Kevin Canning, Founder of Peals of Joy, a socially conscious direct-to-consumer pearl jewelry brand. Canning, who already donates a portion of his company’s profits to ocean-protecting causes, has visited pearl farms throughout the world and has seen first-hand the care and emotional connection pearl farmers have with the ocean. It’s a commitment to the environment that inspires Canning every time he sees it. It’s so inspiring, in fact, that Canning wants to share their story with a global audience of people who may, for now, not care about climate change or the fate of our oceans. But he believes their dispassionate opinion of these topics may change and pearl farmers may be the catalyst of that change.
“Pearl farmers are the unsung heroes in the fight to save our oceans.” said Canning, who has been frustrated by a steady stream of news stories about the land-based hallmarks of pollution and global warming, including wildfires and drought, but few stories about the effects of pollution and climate change on our ocean. “70% of the earth’s surface is water and the threats to our seas are just as grave as the threats to our lands”, said Canning. “The public needs to know about these threats and they need to celebrate the heroes who fight to protect our ocean.”
According to marine biologists, pearl farms area barometer of climate change. Like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine”, the health of pearl-producing oysters is an early warning signs of the long-term effects of pollution and global warming. “The story of pearls is the story of our oceans,” said Laurent Cartier, a scientist and industry expert. “If people who buy pearls consider the delicate-environment they came from, they’ll hopefully appreciate the work of farmers who toil every day against great odds to maintain perfect ecosystems needed to create perfect pearls.”