World Oceans Day, pictures from Trinidad and Tobago · Global Voices in Italian

Sunset over the Caribbean Sea, ‘Down de Islands’, Trinidad. Photo by Janine Mendes-Franco, used with permission.

World Oceans Day [en, come i link seguenti]Decreed by the United Nations (UN) in 2008 and celebrated annually on 8 June, seeks to stimulate global awareness of the importance of oceans for marine and human life in order to achieve greater protection within the United Nations for Sustainable Development (SDGs) objectives. ).

Objective 14 focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans, seas and marine resources because “[gestiscono] the global systems that make the earth habitable for humanity “:

Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food and even the oxygen in the air we breathe are all ultimately supplied and regulated by the ocean.

Our rainwater, drinking water, climate, shores, most of our food and even the oxygen in the air we breathe are eventually supplied and regulated by the ocean.

This vital goal of sustainable development reflects the fact that most of the earth is made up of water; humans could not survive without. This is especially true for small developing countries on islands (SIDS) such as the Caribbean, which are increasingly the first to be affected by the effects of climate change such as rising sea levels, an annual Atlantic hurricane season. more violent, bleaching of the corals, pollution of coastal waters, overfishing and overheating of the oceans that caused an abnormal growth of sargasso. These environmental imbalances are also negatively affecting Caribbean fisheries, while the actions of some regional governments sacrificing fragile coastal ecosystems for an economic return are exacerbating the problem.

Regional environmental activists and those in power know very well what the challenges are, but perhaps on this year’s World Oceans Day, whose goal is to revitalize our oceans, they need to remind us of their purpose and beauty before we truly understand the importance of collective action. required. to defend them successfully.

The oceans around the Republic of the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean archipelago are a perfect example of all the ways the ocean is significant – and crucial – to our existence.

The Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. Photo by Janine Mendes-Franco, used with permission.

The point where the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea on the northeast coast of Trinidad, called the Toco Lighthouse, meet the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, is a poignant reminder that the oceans around the world, like all human species, are interconnected.

This Paramin beach on the north coast of Trinidad is a popular fishing spot. Photo by Janine Mendes-Franco, used under license.

The north coast of Trinidad is a major attraction for anglers. Those who make it a sport often look for tarpons, while those who make it to survive catch all kinds of fish, from Kingfish to Mahi-Mahi. This particular point, accessible by ship or from a steep hill that falls from the village of Paramin, is visited by fishermen and made recognizable by the statue of St. Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, raised on the sand.

Clockwise, from top left photo: Damien Bay in Blanchisseuse; Toco, along the northeast coast of Trinidad, and sea views from the Chaguaramas to the northeast. Photo by Janine Mendes-Franco, used with license.

The oceans play a vital role in physical and mental health. When Trinidad and Tobago’s beaches were closed for months after restrictions related to COVID-19, there were many petitions calling for reopening so surfers could stay up and running, residents of coastal villages (such as Toco, on the coast) northeast ) could take children outdoors, and hikers (such as those who religiously climb the path to Chaguarama’s tracking station in the northwestern part of the island) could connect with nature, a proven source of relaxation and revitalization.

Grande Rivière beach on the northeast coast of Trinidad. Photo by Janine Mendes-Franco, used with permission.

Over a kilometer long, the Grande Rivière is one of the most visited nesting sites for leatherback turtles in this country. The surrounding village, which understands how closely its survival is associated with sustainable environmental practices, seeks to create the least possible impact on the environment, and has full-blown community groups that actively patrol the beach to protect the turtles. and train travelers who come to see them during the nesting season, which runs from March to August each year.

The point where the Nariva River meets the Atlantic Ocean at Manzanilla Strait along the east coast of Trinidad. Photo by Janine Mendes-Franco, used with permission.

In this environmentally sensitive area along Trinidad’s beautiful east coast lies the Nariva Moss, the largest freshwater wetland in the country, designated a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, and the wild bush wildlife sanctuary, which with extreme biodiversity houses over 200 species of animals , birds, reptiles and mammals.

Clockwise from left: a fish caught ‘down the islands’; yacht excursion off the coast of Gaspar Grande Island; a wave breaks on the quay of a house on the island; a dolphin follows a boat at sunset. Photo by Janine Mendes-Franco, used with license.

The cluster of islands scattered across the northwest coast of Trinidad is home to several holiday homes, where people fish, sail, socialize (activities Trinidad and Tobago refer to as “lime”). It is not uncommon to see groups of dolphins, evil turtles and occasional whales in the deep water around the islands.

Rowing scene on Mount Irvine Beach, Tobago. Photo by Janine Mendes-Franco, used with permission.

As Trinidad lies at the mouth of the Venezuelan Orinoco River, the water around the island does not correspond to the stereotype of the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean oceans; Tobago, on the other hand, is the perfect postcard image, and much of its economy is based on tourism, international and local.

Various aspects of Tobago’s Petit Trou Lagoon. Photo by Janine Mendes-Franco, used with license.

The Petit Trou Lagoon, on Tobago’s southern plains, windswept, offers a mix of fresh and salt water, with the Atlantic Ocean penetrating to run around the lagoon’s brackish water, framed by mangroves. The surrounding property has developed into a tourist destination with villas, large holiday homes and a golf course, but despite the original idea of ​​transforming the lagoon into a marina, it has been left in its original state with minimal environmental impact on the surrounding ecosystem. The lagoon attracts kayakers and canoeists, who for the most part enjoy interacting with the stunning scenery and its diversity of bird life.

It is a pleasure to walk on the wide footbridge that runs along the mangrove network, although a 2021 report on mangroves in the area found that they are threatened by a condition known as “dieback”, a disease that attacks woody plants. to cause them to lose branches, twigs or shoots starting from the tips – probably caused by the annual strong impact of sargasso deposits. This is very worrying because mangroves are the critical link between marine and terrestrial ecosystems, such as seagrass beds and coral reefs.

There is no doubt that the climate crisis is affecting the good health and sustainability of our gardens. After COP-26, unless governments around the world commit to “1.5 to survive”, rising sea levels will continue to affect coastal communities, the acidity of our waters will continue to rise, and barriers to corals and Caribbean mangrove forests will continue to bleach. In order to have a hope of giving our garden the look and function of the past, collective action is crucial, not only for sustainability, but for survival.

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