The Blue Community Consortium was created by the Waves of Change, a program of the WHALE Center that was endorsed by the International Ocean Institute. Blue Community was developed as a way coastal communities could put greater emphasis on sustainable ocean issues that are of concern to coastal communities.
Blue Community is a program of the WHALE Center, and administers its United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Affiliate programs. It also manages a UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatory, the Blue Community Sustainable Tourism Observatory.
The Blue Community provides the following major programs and services.
- Management and research of the Blue Community Sustainable Tourism Observatory that includes 14 communities in Florida
- Management of the Blue Community Consortium that includes cities, businesses, NGO's and other groups.
- Providing software for communities to do their own assessment using the UNWTO metrics, Blue Community principles, and One Planet Living framework.
- Providing Certification for accommodations from small bed and breakfasts to large hotels and resorts.
- Providing experiential learning experiences for Colleges, Universities, and other interested groups
- Providing Conferences, Seminars, and training including:
- One Planet Living Integrated training
- Project Management for Sustainable Development training (PM4SD)
- Culture Based Leadership Development
Blue Community Program Council
David Randle - President & CEO WHALE Center, Managing Director of the Blue Community Consortium. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and the board of directors for the Florida Society of Ethical Ecotourism.
Ed Chiles - is a graduate of the University of Florida. He owns and operates three waterfront restaurants in Anna Maria and Longboat Key Florida, The Sandbar, Beach House and Mar Vista restaurants. He is a co-founder of the Blue Community Consortium.
Richard Berman - is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, University of South Florida. Richard Berman is Professor of the USF Institute for Innovation & Advanced Discovery, and Visiting Social Entrepreneurship Professor at the MUMA College of Business.
Debbie Meihls - is the Excecutive Director of Visit New Smyrna Beach. She is a tourism industry veteran of over 20 years in the tourism industry and has held positions at both St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area CVB and Bradenton Area CVB.
Joe Tankersley - is a writer, futurist, and former Walt Disney Imagineer. He combines his broad experience as a storyteller with a deep knowledge of strategic foresight to help organizations create compelling visions for better tomorrows.
Chris Castro - Director of Sustainability and Resilience, City of Orlando. He is is an award winning sustainability professional, eco-entrepreneur, and community organizer with a passion for accelerating the transition to a smart, resilient and sustainable future.
Sharon Wright - is the City of St. Petersburg Sustainability & Resiliency Manager. Sharon is responsible for delivering the mayor’s sustainability priorities by working across city departments and with citizens, businesses, and community partners.
Dr. Alan Fyall - Dr. Alan Fyall is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, the Visit Orlando Endowed Chair, the Interim Chair of the Tourism, Events and Attractions Department and Graduate Programs’ Director at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, and is a member of UCF’s National Center for Integrated Coastal Research.
Vince Albanese is an innovator and entrepreneur whose skills span decades of success and cutting edge innovation. He is Founder and CEO of Haven Health Solutions, focused exclusively on delivering enterprise-grade healthcare blockchain solutions.
Sarbuland Kahn - Sarbuland Khan is the Chief Liaison officer for the UNWTO at the United Nations headquarters in New York
The three areas of emphasis of the Blue Community program are:
- Disaster Reduction & Vulnerability Management
- Economic Development through Eco-Tourism
Scientists have identified a number of vulnerabilities for the Caribbean Island nations and the Gulf of Mexico states from the impacts of climate change. Some of the major ones include:
- sea level rise
- salt water intrusion in estuaries,
- risk to mangroves
- increased frequency and/or intensity of hurricanes
- potential new rain patterns jeopardizing water security
- potential reduction of crop production jeopardizing food security
- bleaching of coral reefs jeopardizing both tourism and fishing
- impacts on coastal zone infrastructure due to sea level rise.
The Blue Community program addresses these issues and more.
The Blue Community programs sees these three areas of emphasis as interrelated and that solutions to these challenges work in synergistic ways.
The Blue Community Consortium is a program of The WHALE Center, a not-for-profit organization that has decades experience in educaton, training, and leadership development in the areas of sustainability, values, and ethics.
The WHALE Center works to facilitate healing of individuals, communities, and the Earth through cooperation with Others.
It has provided several international programs including the International Days Series through its Global Healing Initaiative, sustainabiltiy and ethics programs for the Salt Lake Olympics, and collaborated with UNEP to develop a culture based leadership development program with the UNEP publication Earth and Faith: a book of reflection for action. This program was recognized both with an Olympic Award and an award at the U.N.
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