The e-POP Project (Petites Ondes Participatives), or Participating Small Waves, brings together young observer-reporters from Oceania, Africa and the Caribbean. Their objective is to investigate environmental changes and the conservation of insular and coastal environments. Equipped with few technical means, young E-POP observers set out to meet the people who are experiencing global changes on a daily basis. Using a mobile phone, they collect and record testimonies of people who are isolated or lack means of communication.
As a partner of this project initiated by Planète Radio (part of France Media Monde), Tara Expeditions is currently hosting a young observer from New Zealand. Here’s an interview with Max Bale, head of RFI Planète Radio and co-founder of the e-POP network.
© Darya Kianpour / RFI
Can you explain the purpose of the project?
The e-POP project sees itself as participative and “POPular”! We are interested in the economic and human consequences of environmental changes. Our project creates a link between island populations and the scientific and political worlds, in order to make people aware of the reality and opinions of the islanders.
Through this network, we try to inform scientists and politicians about the consequences of global warming, but we also see if the laws and decrees take into account what the island populations are actually experiencing. Then we try to increase the knowledge of the local people for whom scientific notions about global change have little meaning. In fact, in today’s world such notions are rarely described in terms comprehensible to uneducated people.
What does it take to become a good member of e-POP?
To be willing and engaged! As Pericles said: “There is no happiness without freedom and no freedom without courage.” This applies to us: e-POPers have the courage to get up in the morning and instead of turning on the television, they take their phones to record and tell what’s happening in the world of insular environments. Some e-POPers work with first-generation phones. We manage to do a lot with very little.
© Noëlie Pansiot / Fondation Tara Expéditions
This project is therefore participative and voluntary
It’s 100% voluntary! We are present in relatively difficult countries: in Africa, but also in Cuba, Timor, etc. We offer our support and ensure that the people’s voice is heard by decision-makers. We give voice to local populations so they can be heard with whatever means they have on hand: local radios, local media and associations.
The impact of ongoing changes on the population is quantifiable on a daily basis: fish are smaller, people need to go out further to catch fish so they’re eating less and the standard of living is declining. Since living conditions are more difficult, we’re interested in getting people’s testimonies and feelings. We’re mainly talking about the inhabitants of islands, island states and coastal areas that are directly impacted by global warming and changes. We are trying to place human beings at the heart of the problem. Ours is a truly militant and democratic approach!
Interview by Noëlie Pansiot
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