|Language No Barrier for CRCL
By Zoe Schwartz, Outreach Assistant
Successful coastal restoration means more than building land alone. While measuring acres of marsh gained is important, it is equally important to ensure that restoration is truly benefiting the people of Louisiana. CRCL is engaging fishing communities to bring their valuable traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) into the discussion of restoration and to better understand the needs and obstacles of these communities. Full participation in restoration can be difficult for community members because often information is presented in highly technical language and the process for giving effective public comment can be confusing.
Effective engagement can be especially challenging when there is a language barrier. Coastal Louisiana is home to large Vietnamese and Cambodian fishing communities, many of whom do not speak English as a first language and some who don’t speak English at all. But their voices and opinions are vital to the discussion. As part of CRCL’s ongoing effort to engage these communities, we partnered with Coastal Communities Consulting (CCC) to provide critical information in Vietnamese and Cambodian.
This year, CRCL has worked with CCC to translate both our Multiple Lines of Defense and Estuary infographics into Vietnamese making them available at events where members of the Vietnamese community were present. CRCL had our video, “View from the Barataria Basin” translated as well. The video gives an informative overview of the types of restoration projects planned and under construction in the Barataria Basin.
Our latest project, Shrimping with Diversions, held facilitated discussions with shrimpers to consider how they will be able to adapt to a changed environment when sediment diversions come online. With the help of CCC, we held two separate discussions -- one in Vietnamese and one in Cambodian -- with real time interpretation. The ideas gathered from the Vietnamese and Cambodian shrimpers were vital to our project and added important perspectives to our work.
CRCL plans to continue working with Vietnamese and Cambodian residents, along with all our fishing communities, so that our Outreach and Engagement work can truly be inclusive.
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