Coral in the headlines

Recently at the ATECH conference, the winner of the Pitch Competition, Carey Anne Nadeau, told me: Yes, one day, I will be showing up here to live, grow coral, do something useful, that’s good for my soul.

Growing Coral in the Caribbean.

Apparently the news about the sad state of coral here and around the globe is subject of millennial conversation and concern.

We all know by now, that the higher temperatures of water, caused by global warming, is why coral is dying, in Australia, and in Aruba. One of my friends, an environmentalist, also reports that the higher temperature of the water is responsible for the seasonal muck underfoot, at certain high-rise hotel beaches in warmer summer months. Bacteria grows and forms the slime and muddy feeling on the bottom, he explains.

My marine biologist friend says that theory is plausible, but must be studied, with an extensive research which the island should undertake, immediately.

We also heard that at a certain moment the government was willing to start a cleanup, dredging and replacing the sand at the cost of many millions.

On this topic, my environmentalist AND marine biologist friends agree, they are afraid it will disturb, disrupt, and ultimately change the entire biodiversity without leading to desired results.

What we all need to do is help mitigate global warming, but the problem is ignorance about the subject and everyone’s complacency.  The damage is everywhere and more so, on our little island.

On October 11th, Prof Han Lindeboom, an international coral expert, visited the island. He held a talk at MFA Noord, attended by about 45 stakeholders from among environmental NGOs and some of the resorts. I missed it, but I talked to Leo Henriquez, a member of KIVI, Koninklijk Institut Van Ingenieurs, the NGO that sponsored the professor’s visit here.

While talking to his audience, the Lindeboom, a scientist, introduced what he called the Delta Plan, designed to turn the tide on the ecological disaster. Henriquez, listened carefully. He is a super educated and enthusiastic conservationist-on-fire, regarding the need to institute a Cradle to Cradle philosophy here, circular instead of linear, meaning making sustainability, continuity and consideration, our main concern.

(Wikipedia: The C2C approach, Cradle to Cradle means from the birth, or “cradle,” of one generation to the next versus from birth to death, or “grave,” within the same generation.)

Henriquez wants to change the way things are done on the island, with new construction codes – yes, he is an engineer, and real progress not politics.

So in October, Lindeboom and his Delta Plan were guests of KIVI, the royal institute of engineers, a Dutch organization with 20.000 global members, about 15 of them on Aruba.

Lindeboom’s message was the following: The time to do things differently, as far as our coral is concerned, is NOW, because if nothing is done, there will be no more coral left in 30 years, no coral, no fish, a long chain of losses will ensue.

The time to do something is NOW, but we gotta want to change. One person, one organization cannot undertake the restoration mission, but the entire society can.

Apparently they have made good progress with coral regeneration in St Maarten and in the Dominican Republic. Alas, the recent storms wiped all efforts out, but the professor expressed caution optimism, and they are still making some progress in Bonaire, with the Coral Restoration Foundation.

P.S. They have already cleaned up the muck at Surfside beach and spend a lot of ATA’s money on that. Can one of you, readers, report success? I did not stick my toes in the water there, as yet, I am waiting for your verdict.

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November 07, 2017
Rona Coster