Someone we dearly care about needs our help badly — and if we don’t act fast enough, it’s only just-a-matter-of-time before we strangle her to death.
For millennia, this ‘Love of our Lives for Life’ has provided sustenance to Humankind – and also carried daring adventurers (like me) on the waves of her tresses, as we bravely plunged forth to link lands and people with goods and services.
Having sailed the seven seas in the first half of my life, I can truly say She’s always been a source of wonder and marvel — and eternally respected for her magnificence, as indelibly etched in world poetry by Saint Lucia’s very own Nobel Prizewinner, Derek Walcott:
Where are your monuments, your battles, martyrs?
Where is your tribal memory? Sirs,
in that grey vault. The sea. The sea
has locked them up. The sea is History.
I guess by now you know I’m talking about our Caribbean Sea — and the joined oceans that have forever washed the world’s shores…
But if Walcott had to revisit his masterpiece today, his questions to us might very well have been: Where is your compassion? Where is your common sense? And where is your decency?
He would definitely have been astounded by the rape, pillage and constant violation that Our Species has increasingly imposed on our great aquatic Mother — and more specifically, that Caribbean Sea that unites us all in the embrace of her gently-lapping waters and breathtaking azure hues.
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. noted (earlier this week) that “Global warming, combined with the negative impacts of numerous other human activities, is devastating our ocean, with alarming declines in fish stocks, the death of our reefs, and sea level rise that could displace hundreds of millions of people.”
Likewise, rising sea levels should seriously concern all Caribbean people.
For decades, Mother Ocean has been force-fed a lethal diet of sewage and other discharges from factories and industrial plants; pesticides and nutrients used in agriculture end-up in her coastal waters resulting in oxygen depletion that kills marine plants and shellfish that also depend on her for life; and depravation of our marine environment by the wanton disposal of what oceanographer Charles Moore described as ‘The waste that nature can’t digest’ — Plastic!
Plastic pollution levels are already threatening everything living below the sea’s surface.
Caribbean fish, sea birds, turtles and other marine animals are all either becoming entangled in or ingesting plastic debris, resulting in death by suffocation, starvation or drowning.
As the world observed World Oceans Day on Tuesday (June 8) plastic waste was killing over a million sea birds and over 100,000 other marine animals EVERY YEAR — and the death toll keeps rising at a staggering rate.
I wished to urge Caribbean people to reflect on the irreversible damage being done to our oceans and the resulting collapse of some of the world’s most important food sources.
Two years ago, a systemic analysis conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society revealed that only 13% of the world’s oceans still remain untouched by the damaging impact of Humanity.
Celebrated environmentalist Sir David Attenborough, in his landmark BBC series ‘Blue Planet 2’, noted that our oceans are under threat now like never before in human history, with huge ‘dead zones’ being created through unscrupulous industrial fishing.
Only one thing separates us from every other one of the billions of planets in our known universe: WATER.
EARTH is called The Blue Planet because of our oceans — and that’s what’s behind the sustenance of life as we know it.
OUR OCEANS help create the atmosphere above that allows us to breathe, so by damaging our oceans we are simply committing humanoid planetary suicide.
You might correctly assume that protecting our oceans is an ocean of a task by itself — and be right too, asking yourself how you can make a difference…
But just as each journey begins with a single step and each megastructure begins with the first block, as grim as the battle appears, victory remains within our grasp.
As legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle optimistically noted: ‘It is the worst of times, but it is the best of times because we still have a chance.’
We still have a chance to save our oceans — but the ocean’s waters can slip through our fingers and unless we tightly cup our hands with determination.
It was heartening again, therefore, to be reminded we also have our champions — in the Caribbean — putting their hands up to help make that difference.
I saw on Tuesday a public service announcement and poster about quiet efforts of the region’s top resort company, Sandals Resorts International (SRI) and its Beaches family brand, to drive home the message of environmental awareness.
Executive Chairman Adam Stewart has a long record as a quiet advocate for protection and preservation of the Caribbean’s environment, reflected as a key pillar of the work undertaken by The Sandals Foundation regionally.
You might say that as a resort group, SRI is compelled to be an exponent of oceanic awareness, especially as their properties sit on Caribbean beaches – and I would agree…
Mahatma Ghandi wisely advised that we should ‘Be the change you want to see in the world!’
In that regard, here’s a few simple ways you can Be That Change: Eat sustainable food, reduce energy consumption, manage use of plastic products (or avoid plastics as much as you can), properly dispose of hazardous waste, manage use of fertilizers/aerosols etc., practice good disposal habits (and even do some beach clean-up efforts with your family), buy ocean-friendly products and — most importantly — share this message as wide and out-at-large as possible…
All you need to do is all what you can to show our LOVE to Mother Ocean — and collectively WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!