Land Above Water: E+B Moorea

"The E+B Moorea model redefines the relationship between development goals and nature preservation when addressing energy and climate challenges", Matatea Changuy, Co-founder & President, Land Above Water.


Island of Moorea by Space2Leap.

Island of Moorea by Space2Leap.

land above water

Matatea Changuy co-founded Land Above Water in 2015 with the intention of providing sustainable development solutions for islands. Land Above Water's mission was to promote energy and resource independence, long-term biodiversity preservation and management, equitable and modern economic models, and developmental and cultural reinvigoration and empowerment.

E+B MOOREA

About

Land Above Water's first project—Energy+Biodiversity Moorea—was an integrated approach for renewable energy deployment and biodiversity management for the island of Moorea. This initiative sought to propose a model for renewable energy deployment and biodiversity management that makes biodiversity protection goals a core component of the design, planning, and implementation of energy modernization projects in an effort to build life-sustaining island economies. If proven successful, the E+B model would have be proposed to ocean territories as a new model of vibrant island economies and communities in touch with the unique sociological problems facing islands.

What development gap does E+B specifically address?

E+B addresses the need for a convergence of sustainable energy development and biodiversity preservation strategies. Biodiversity protection is a critical missing piece from clean energy transition projects. The E+B model proposes an integrated approach for renewable energy deployment and biodiversity management that makes biodiversity protection goals a core component of the design, planning, and implementation of energy modernization projects.  

Why Moorea?

Moorea presents a rare opportunity for a success story at the confluence of biological science and economic development. Moorea is one of the most studied ecosystems in the world and is now on the verge of becoming the basis for the world’s first virtual ecology laboratory. The three scientific research stations situated on Moorea—the UC Berkeley Gump Field Station, the French CRIOBE, and the NSF’s Moorea Coral Reef LTER—are collaborating with 16 leading scientific institutions on Moorea IDEA, a groundbreaking project to create a digital simulation of the socio-ecosystem based on 40 years of combined data and a multi-scale model. IDEA would enable the simulation of alternative development scenarios and the evaluation of their cost structure and environmental impact. The greater ability to anticipate the effect of development projects, socio-cultural behaviors, and consumption patterns on ecosystem wellness would make possible to engage with sustainability issues in a timely manner and drive change from the future. Moorea can seize this unique opportunity to change its development trajectory if it adopts a radical approach towards its current energy system, characterized by almost exclusive dependence on fossil fuels, inefficient energy use, an ageing infrastructure, and a single-agent production concession.

Despite its abundant natural energy resources, less than 0.5% of the 40 MW generated on Moorea comes from renewable sources. The high cost of imported fuels exhausts the island’s income, diverts funds away from social and economic development, and precludes competitiveness, and locks the population in an unnecessarily high cost of living. In 2014, the residents of Moorea paid almost twice the electricity price of mainland France. Moorea’s consumption practices exceed the rational needs and capacities of a small island. In 2009, the carbon emission per inhabitant per year was found to be 6 times higher than the postulated maximum for limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Nonprofit formation & President position
  • A 30 page project proposal for E+B and the potential of Moorea as a test case
  • Fundraising for Phase A study and relationships building
  • Asia Pacific Resilience Innovation Challenge 2015
  • Organization and project Branding