During a visit to the tourist resort of Negril in Jamaica several years ago, I ventured out in a glass-bottom boat. Snorkeling and diving make me claustrophobic, so this is the only way that I can really see what is happening under the surface.
I had hoped to see glowing, flourishing and healthy coral reefs; I saw very little of that. However, we did see, for a beautiful instant, a sea turtle. He (or she) sparkled in the fractured sunlight, like a freshly painted toy, suspended from an invisible string. I wondered how he/she survived in an environment that seemed almost devoid of fish. But it was an exquisite moment that I will never forget.
At a meeting last month with representatives of the United Nations Environment Programme‘s (UNEP) Caribbean Environment Programme in Kingston, we heard from Alessandra Vanzella-Khouri, Program Officer for the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) treaty – the only regional and legally binding biodiversity treaty for the Wider Caribbean. I noted in my first article that the Wider Caribbean includes all the coastlines bordering on the Caribbean, including the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, it is four million square kilometers of deep water basins, estuaries, islands, sandbanks and coral reefs. SPAW is concerned with the life that exists in this beautiful, but far from pristine environment.
Here’s a bleak fact: 76 per cent – over three-quarters – of all species in this region are threatened by habitat loss or changing habitat. Over-fishing, unplanned coastal development and pollution (which I discussed in the first article) are wreaking havoc on our marine life – fish, sharks, lobsters, whales, dolphins and all the much tinier creatures too. All six species of sea turtles in the Caribbean are endangered, largely because people collect their eggs from the beaches where they nest.
Let’s go back to the United Nations’ SPAW Protocol for a moment. The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region was adopted at a conference in Kingston, Jamaica in 1990 and entered into force in 2000. Ambassador Don Mills (Jamaica) was elected President of the conference. How many countries in the region have signed and ratified the agreement? Sixteen so far, as indicated on the map.
You will notice that the name of Jamaica, the conference host in 1990, is not among the sixteen. You will also note that Cuba, the Dominican Republic and most of our Eastern Caribbean neighbors have ratified it. But there are benefits to be acquired – tangible benefits. It’s more than just a piece of paper. The pluses to ratifying the agreement are greatest in the field of the Marine Protected Areas, where there is much work to be done. In fact, Ms. Vanzella-Khouri revealed that there are eighteen protected areas from the Caribbean recently listed under the SPAW Protocol to be included in a regional cooperation programme. There are over 300 marine protected areas established in the region.
As Ms. Vanzella-Khouri pointed out, it is “increasingly difficult” to raise funds from the UN and elsewhere for local projects, as long as Jamaica is not a party to the agreement. The lack of ratification appears to indicate a lack of commitment to the goals of the Protocol and an unwillingness to co-operate as an important player in the region; or that is how I see it.
Some projects are under way; there is a sustainable management project on Pedro Cays, including training and capacity building; there is a Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan and a Manatee Action Plan. But if Jamaica were to ratify SPAW, so much more could be achieved. Jamaica could obtain training; sustainable tourism and fisheries programs; technical co-operation with regional partners; funded participation at all SPAW meetings and workshops; access to specific guidelines, materials and research in order to meet the requirements of the Convention on Biological Diversity and other international agreements; and all kinds of support, (including financial) for much-needed conservation, awareness, community participation and best practice programs.
Jamaica is out on a limb. It is not a part of this international network of knowledge, co-operation and most importantly – action projects that will benefit us all.
As I noted in a previous blog post (and this seems so obvious to me) the beautiful Caribbean Sea, on which much of our livelihood and wellbeing depends, needs our love and nurturing. It is our birthright. And what is hugely important is that all those nations that border on the Caribbean, whether large or small, must co-operate and support each other to protect this precious jewel that we have inherited. Its waters lap all of our shores. We are all inter-connected.
There is “a lot at stake for Jamaica in SPAW,” said Ms. Vanzella-Khouri with a note of slight frustration in her voice. Jamaica can become part of this regional network of co-operation; at the moment it is not benefiting. There are no financial obligations required on Jamaica’s part, and it is already meeting some of the objectives of SPAW, she added.
You may say: Look, Jamaica is in a crippling economic crisis, with almost non-existent growth and low productivity; so why should “environmental issues” be of any relevance, right now? We have bigger fish to fry, metaphorically speaking.
Well, I would suggest that the environment in the Caribbean has a particularly important bearing on its economy. There is the Great God of Tourism, to which our governments bow. How can tourism thrive when the seas are polluted with untreated sewage, and snorkelers and divers can only find dying coral reefs with a scattering of small fish? There are over 20,000 fishermen in Jamaica according to the Food and Agriculture Organization; how many are now struggling to survive, with some turning to illegal ways to make a living? And how much more could our citizens – and generations to come – benefit from a healthy environment?
And here are some figures to back this up: The total value of Jamaica’s ecosystems is an estimated US$245 million, according to a 2009 report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington, DC (do check out their fascinating and informative website). The value of dive tourism, fishing and coastal production is between US$3 – 4.6 billion per year. And in the past twenty-five years, Jamaica has lost US$1.3 billion in revenues from reef fisheries, says the WRI.
So why, you may ask, has Jamaica not taken advantage of these benefits that have been on offer for thirteen years or so – at no cost to the Jamaican government? We have heard this phrase many times before: “Lack of political will.” In other words, our leaders, stuck in their short-term thinking, don’t really care. That is just my view.
But we Jamaicans must care, mustn’t we?
P.S. I must stress, again, that the Caribbean Environment Programme office can provide journalists. researchers and anyone interested in the environment with a wealth of information, statistics and analysis of all these issues and much more, related directly to Jamaica and the Caribbean. Don’t hesitate to contact them! They would welcome your interest.
Contact info: Alessandra Vanzella-Khouri, Program Officer, SPAW: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ms. Pietra Brown, Communications Officer/United Nations Volunteer Email: email@example.com. UNEP CEP, 14-20 Port Royal Street Kingston, Jamaica. Tel. # 876 922 9267 Fax # 876 922 9292
Related articles and websites:
http://www.cep.unep.org/cartagena-convention/spaw-protocol SPAW Protocol: UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme website
http://www.cep.unep.org UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme website
Pollution Flowing from Land to Sea: The UN Caribbean Environment Programme, Part 1 petchary.wordpress.com
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle petchary.wordpress.com
http://petchary.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/p-s-happy-world-wetlands-day-february-2-2013/ Happy World Wetlands Day! petchary.wordpress.com
http://petchary.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/5498/ Two new environmental films by Jamaican filmmaker Esther Figueroa: petchary
http://petchary.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/a-softer-blue-the-caribbean-sea/ A softer blue: The Caribbean Sea: petchary.wordpress.com
http://petchary.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/our-beautiful-caribbean-sea/ Our beautiful Caribbean Sea: petchary.wordpress.com
Coral comeback: Reef ‘seeding’ in the Caribbean miamiherald.com
Charity of the Week eastaltonrotary.blogspot.com
http://www.conserveturtles.org Sea Turtle Conservancy website
http://www.wri.org World Resources Institute website
http://www.wri.org/press/2011/06/press-release-new-analysis-coral-reefs-provide-great-value-jamaicas-economy New Analysis: Coral reefs provide great value to Jamaica’s economy: WRI press release
http://pdf.wri.org/working_papers/coastal_capital_jamaica_summary.pdf Coastal capital: Jamaica – WRI Special Paper
http://www.fao.org/fishery/countrysector/FI-CP_JM/en Food & Agriculture Organization Jamaica Country Profile/Fisheries
http://www.cep.unep.org/news/govt-losing-billions Government losing billions: Denise Dennis report/Jamaica Observer
I recently attended an absorbing and incredibly informative meeting with the United Nations Environment Programme. The Kingston office is situated in a building alongside the downtown Conference Centre that also houses the International Law of the Sea Convention offices.
Here’s some background: This office administers the Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP), which was launched in 1976… Such a long time ago, it seems. The CEP has been the Secretariat for the Cartagena Convention since 1983. According to UNEP’s Media Brief (a very useful document which their office would be happy to provide), the Convention “is designed to protect the Caribbean Sea – a recognized important natural resource which affects almost every aspect of life – recreation, fisheries, transport and the tourism sector, upon which millions of Caribbean livelihoods depend as well as being a primary foreign exchange earner for many countries of the Wider Caribbean Region.”
Stick a pin. What is the Wider Caribbean Region? The Programme Coordinator, Nelson Andrade Commenares, pointed out to us on the map that this area is much larger than we might think. In this corner of the Western Hemisphere we are all, indeed, connected by tides, currents, ocean streams. So the Wider Caribbean includes the adjoining Gulf of Mexico and all countries with coastlines thereon.
Let’s remind ourselves that the Cartagena Convention covers the marine environment. But of course, land and sea impact each other enormously – I will get onto that in a minute. The Convention was signed on March 24 (my birthday) 1983 in Cartagena, Colombia and came into force on October 11, 1986. Three countries have not, for some reason, signed or ratified the Convention, nor its accompanying Oil Spills Protocol: Haiti, Honduras and Suriname. But there are two other important protocols to the Convention: The Land Based Sources of Marine Pollution Protocol (LBS) and the Specially Protected Areas of Wildlife Protocol (SPAW).
Yes, a bunch of acronyms. There is always the danger of plunging into an “alphabet soup” when you work for governments and multilateral organizations like the United Nations. But these conventions and protocols are much more than pieces of paper with signatures on. You will see how, and why, I hope… Let’s look at the LBS Protocol first. Christopher Corbin, the Programme Officer for the Assessment and Management of Environment Pollution, told us that Jamaica has not yet ratified or acceded to the Protocol, which came into force in 2010. So far ten countries have ratified and acceded to it: Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Grenada, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Saint Lucia, Belize, the United States and France (the latter two countries obviously covering the U.S. Virgin Islands and those islands that are French Departments). This means that the protocol has “entered into force” (as of August 2010) and become legally binding for these ten countries. It is international law.
What is land based pollution in Jamaica? We are talking about the filth from domestic sewage, oil refineries, sugar factories and distilleries, food processing and other manufacturing activities, chemical industries. There is also agricultural run-off – you know, those pesticides and fertilizers and other chemicals that we regularly spray on our crops. We are also talking about bags of garbage dumped into the gullies in urban areas: we have all seen scandal bags sometimes containing human waste, old fridges and plastics of every kind in gullies, waiting for the next heavy rains that will carry it into Kingston Harbour and the sea. Take a look at parts of the harbor after heavy rains, and you will see what I mean. The waters are festooned with plastic bottles.
And there is the pollution of our rivers. “Fish kills” are a regular occurrence. Fingers are pointed in all directions, but rarely is anyone held accountable, even when local residents have a good idea where the pollution is coming from. There is an urgent need for environmental law reform in these areas.
And yes, rivers flow into the sea.
In case we don’t realize it – and I think most of us do, by now – this affects the livelihoods of many Jamaicans on a daily basis. Pollution flowing from land to sea – whether it is untreated sewage or chemicals from a banana plantation – kills fish along the coast and even further out, severely damages coral reefs and thus immediately damages two core industries – fisheries and tourism. Our Caribbean Sea is not only a beautiful place to enjoy – it brings us prosperity. Like a beautiful gem, it has value, real and tangible.
Something we did not discuss, but which is quite obvious, is that pollution impacts our health, too. Garbage is a breeding ground for rats and mosquitoes that bring disease. The water we use to drink and bathe in may be polluted. Seafood may be contaminated.
Did you know that 80 per cent of marine pollution comes from the land? And that 75 per cent of sewage that flows into the sea is untreated?
Of course, there are benefits to be had for those countries that do ratify the Protocol, as well as obligations to control effluents and land-based pollution of various kinds. Jamaica would benefit from improved access to funding and technical support (both greatly needed, one would assume, in our current economic environment); stronger partnerships, both national and international; and much closer monitoring of the condition of our environment (and this is a core function of the CEP). You may ask why Jamaica has not yet acceded to the LBS Protocol? According to Christopher Corbin, many of our regulations on reducing pollution – for example, effluent from various industries – are out of date or inadequate, so changes must be made before Jamaica is ready. However, a proposal has been made for the ratification of the Protocol, he understands; this is now awaiting Cabinet review and approval. I hope our local environmentalists and journalists will monitor this and find out when this is actually going to happen.
But, let’s face it. As someone commented during our discussion, among all the issues that governments are grappling with in this region, “environmental issues are somewhere in there.” Not at the top of the list. Not a great political priority. It seems sad, though, that when there is so much to be gained from added support from the United Nations and other multilateral organizations and governments, our own government is hardly prepared to meet them even half-way. Cooperation is, after all, not a one-way street. There is so much that can be done, when the will is there.
Meanwhile, Mr. Corbin continues to press on with the work of data-gathering and working with governments to reduce environmental pollution (the UN Environment Programme is not a donor agency, dispensing funds for various programs; it works with governments at the policy level). The CEP office shares information and research and is a huge and valuable resource for governmental and non-governmental agencies, educational institutions, journalists and the like. Recently, it has partnered with the European Union and the Planning Institute of Jamaica in a Climate Change/Disaster Risk Management Project, among others. It conducts training, and has a range of great public education materials and an information-rich website. Raising public awareness, and encouraging “behavior change” - always a tough challenge – are priorities.Now, this is just my sense of things. But during the meeting I had the impression that despite the United Nations’ encouragement of Jamaica and other Caribbean governments to sign onto, commit to and implement protocols, agreements and regional cooperation to protect their environment, progress has been halting and results patchy. Regulations need to be re-examined, legislation amended, approvals given, we know. But why is progress so slow? Is it a lack of political will? A simple lack of interest? Misplaced priorities? Or just bureaucratic delays? Surely not a lack of understanding of the issues involved – the inestimable economic and social importance of a healthy environment. And yet it seems to be, at times, like pulling teeth.
It simply makes sense to protect our fragile and increasingly threatened environment. Why are Caribbean governments so half-hearted about it?
Please let me know, Ministry of Water, Environment, Climate Change etc. and the many and various government agencies responsible for our island environment. Let me know when to exhale. Can we just get on with it and do the necessary? Let’s do this for the sake of our precious and beautiful Caribbean Sea, and for generations of Caribbean citizens to come.
For more information on the Caribbean Environment Program and the Land Based Pollution Protocol, contact:
Chris Corbin, AMEP Programme Officer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pietra Brown, Communications Officer/United Nations Volunteer Email: email@example.com
UNEP CEP, 14-20 Port Royal Street Kingston, Jamaica.
Tel. # 876 922 9267 Fax # 876 922 9292
http://www.cep.unep.org/cartagena-convention About the Cartagena Convention
http://www.cep.unep.org Caribbean Environment Programme website
http://www.nepa.gov.jm/default.asp National Environment & Planning Agency
http://www.mwh.gov.jm Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change
http://www.jamentrust.org Jamaica Environment Trust website
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (petchary.wordpress.com)
http://eco-friendlylife.tumblr.com/pollution Ec0-Friendly Life: Jamaican blog
Two New Environmental Films by Jamaican Independent Film Maker Esther Figueroa (vagabond Media) (petchary.wordpress.com)
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Gov-t-losing-billion-_13431006 Government losing billions: Jamaica delays action on environment protocol to its detriment: Jamaica Observer
http://petchary.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/our-beautiful-caribbean-sea/ Our beautiful Caribbean Sea: petchary.wordpress.com
http://petchary.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/a-softer-blue-the-caribbean-sea/ A softer blue: the Caribbean Sea: petchary.wordpress.com
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121116/lead/lead3.html Clean up Kingston Harbour! Jamaica Gleaner editorial
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121209/news/news95.html Cutting out contamination in Kingston Harbour: Peter Espeut op-ed/Jamaica Gleaner
At dawn she is cool and quiet, still holding the mysteries of the night reefs. As the sun rises, she spreads out like a glittering party dress, sequined in silver-white. In the heat of the summer day, she tries to merge with the sky, blurred and shifting at the edges. As the afternoon comes and with it the trade winds of summer, she becomes restless and foam-tipped. When evening comes, she sinks into the sunset, painting herself briefly with its colors. At night she reflects only starlight, and dreams while the sharks roam. This is our Caribbean Sea.
Our sea is a stone that changes color with the light, from opal to turquoise to indigo blue. But those colors are changing. The blood of its creatures that we humans kill is leaking into the blue, dark and stinking. The filth that we produce on our small islands is constantly seeping into its waters: garbage - plastic bags, plastic bottles, sanitary napkins, diapers, dead dogs, half-eaten burgers and beef patties, toothpaste tubes, beer cans and much more; poisonous chemicals that we spray onto our crops; half-treated or untreated sewage; all kinds of waste from factories and shops and the docks and the ships that pass through the harbors.
The blood. Dear reader, you may or may not be aware that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) recently met as it does regularly, to decide the fate of these unfathomably beautiful creatures around the world. As usual, it was politics and power play, and tiny nations such as ours in the Caribbean are caught in the middle of it all and used as pawns to be pushed this way and that. Our votes are important for those countries that persist in hunting whales. And so it came to pass that a presentation by Brazil, South Africa, Argentina and Uruguay to establish a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary was defeated at the IWC’s recent meeting. St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada and St. Lucia joined the whaling nations (Japan, Iceland, Norway) and some small Pacific islands in opposing the whale sanctuary; St. Vincent and the Grenadines (which already hunts whales) abstained from the vote.
They should be ashamed of themselves. As a resident of the Caribbean, I am ashamed of them.
Indeed, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (where the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films have been made) has asked the IWC if it can hunt down and kill 24 humpback whales over the next five years. This is on the basis of a “super-proposal” by St. Vincent, the United States and the Russian Federation for so-called “aboriginal” subsistence whaling. Yes, the aboriginal peoples of St. Vincent need to kill these humpback whales, for their own survival. And who are these aborigines of St. Vincent, you may well ask? Where are they? Well, you tell me. I thought (I could be wrong) that the Caribs had died out decades ago, although there may be some descendants left – a few.
By the way, according to environmental societies such as the American Cetacean Society and others, these “Vincentian aborigines” use speedboats to pursue the humpbacks, targeting calves that will lure them to their mothers, and using other illegal methods. They also allegedly hunt down and kill other marine mammals illegally – such as the orca (they may already have slaughtered a few orcas so far this year). They have reportedly not provided data or reported to the IWC on their whale-killing activities. According to an IWC Watch blog (link posted below), the St. Vincent Whaling Commissioner literally shouts down anyone who dares question their need for dead whales. In a somewhat hysterical speech (see link below for the full text), St. Kitt’s Commissioner accused those opposing the “aboriginal” proposal of racism and colonialism; while St. Lucia asserted that there are in fact many full-blooded indigenous peoples in the Eastern Caribbean. The Dominican Republic questioned this; and said it is making money taking tourists on whale-watching trips (so are the Turks and Caicos Islands, by the way). To which St. Lucia retorted, “I say to the Dominican Republic, you can conduct your whale watching while SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) conducts its hunts.”
Wow. If I was a humpback whale, I know which part of the Caribbean I would rather hang out in.
And what of the tourists, by the way – since the Caribbean is undoubtedly very dependent on them? How delighted would they be to know that the residents of the idyllic island on which they spend their dream honeymoon are a little ways out from the shore, pursuing baby whales in speedboats, and filling the beautiful sea they love to splash about in with the blood of humpbacks? What if they were on a boat trip or cruise and actually witnessed such “aboriginal” activity for themselves? After all, these are small spaces we are talking about – it could happen… What if (as I intend to do) environmentally conscious tourists avoided these islands and visited eco-friendly islands instead?
And talking of environmentally conscious tourists, another apparent disaster occurred last week which shows the combination of carelessness and ignorance which typifies much of the Caribbean people‘s (and governments’) approach to the environment. First reports suggested that thousands of eggs and hatchlings of the highly endangered leatherback turtle were reportedly crushed and destroyed by government bulldozer that were attempting to divert a river that was apparently causing problems for the Mt. Plaisir Estate Hotel in Trinidad and nearby homes. Later, we were told it was merely hundreds of leatherbacks, and that the river diversion was necessary to save millions of turtles in the future. Ironically and very sadly, thousands of tourists stay at the hotel every year just to see the baby turtles hatch on this famous nesting beach.
There is a postscript to this – a comment on the Washington Post website “from Steven Greenleaf – President of the Caribbean Institute of Sustainability. I was there at the event today in Grand Rivere. I have years of training and experience as an ecologist and natural resource conservationist. NOT ONE person that I spoke to or heard speak who is actually involved in turtle conservation there, including biologists, conservationists, scientists, guides, or commmunity members was critical of the project to re-direct the river. NOT ONE. Thousands of turtles dead from the project……..not true. Did not happen. The river’s new course meant that the nests were being innundated by fresh water, preventing incubation. The turtles were dead before they were dug up. The fact is that the intervention will save thousands of turtle hatchlings, and the properties which were being eroded. Certainly the project could have been handled far better in terms of communication and planning. However completely non-factual and sensationalised reporting and outright fabrication of “facts,” achieves nothing of value and is counter productive in terms of improving environmental management in T&T.” Not all environmentalists appear to agree with him. The Ministry of Tourism also put out a statement and held a press conference, noting, “We are deeply saddened by the unfortunate statements circulating in the media on the “assumed” destruction of the turtle nesting ground at the Grande Riviere Beach in Trinidad.” Assumed. OK.
I feel really sorry for the hotel owners and do hope that their efforts to attract tourists will not be ruined by this. They have a beautiful website and obviously care deeply for the environment.
After all that….Thankfully Jamaica does not have a “whaling tradition” and is not a member of the IWC. However, we are playing our part in damaging our marine eco-systems. We are busy over-fishing our waters; and in an act of desperation – or sheer laziness – some fishermen are still blowing the fish out of the sea with dynamite, causing untold damage. A few days ago, a truck driver (possibly speeding, though we don’t know the cause yet) had an accident “negotiating a corner” on the road that sweeps round downtown Kingston by the sea. The truck tipped over, spilling oil into the ocean and causing a “minor fish kill.” I was actually surprised that there were any fish still living in Kingston Harbour (the eighth largest natural harbor in the world) – which has often been described as a “cesspool.” A friend told me that she had personally witnessed effluent of various kinds (I won’t go into detail) pouring from a cruise ship into the sea at Ocho Rios, St. Ann; others have seen human faces floating past them while bathing in other resorts.
When will we start respecting our beautiful Caribbean Sea? For how much longer can our sea, and its creatures, endure this abuse?
Please support local non-governmental organizations like the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) which has established fishing sanctuaries off the south coast; and the Jamaica Environment Trust, which has conducted sea turtle workshops and numerous other programs and environmental campaigns – including a protracted but highly successful legal battle that finally stopped sewage from being poured into the sea at Harbour View, near Kingston. C-CAM can be contacted at (876) 986-3344; (876) 289-8253; Fax: (876) 986-3956; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; street address: Bustamante Drive, Lionel Town, Clarendon; mailing address: P.O. Box 33, Lionel Town, Clarendon, Jamaica, W.I. The Jamaica Environment Trust is at (876) 960-3693; (876) 906-9783; (876) 906-9385; Fax: (876) 926-0212; email: Address: Earth House, 11B Waterloo Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica Their website links are below. There are many other community-based, local environmental groups that also deserve our support. Do what you can.
- Caribbean Scuba Spotlight on diving in the TURKS AND CAICOS (turkscaicosluxuryvillas.com)
- http://iwcblogger.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/south-atlantic-whale-sanctuary-fails-to-pass-iwc-vote/#comment-347 (South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary fails to pass IWC vote)
- http://iwcblogger.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/is-that-rain-or-just-st-vincent-the-grenadines/ (Is that rain, or just St. Vincent and the Grenadines?)
- http://iwcblogger.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/a-majority-of-iwc-commissioners-agree-one-out-of-three-asw-quotas-sucks/ (A majority of IWC Commissioners agree one out of three ASW quotas sucks)
- Whale sanctuary bid falls short (bbc.co.uk)
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18693753 (Indigenous whaling bids granted after “racism” claim)
- http://www.greenerideal.com/science/0618-aboriginal-whale-hunting/ (Aboriginal whale hunting: Does it make a difference to the whale?)
- Protect whales from new oil industry threat, warns WWF (guardian.co.uk)
- Indigenous whaling bids granted (bbc.co.uk)
- Memories of a moratorium: Rundown of the 64th International Whaling Commission meeting (greenerideal.com)
- Meeting Results In ‘Mixed Bag For Whales’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- Don’t miss whale watching while you’re here! (turkscaicosluxuryvillas.com)
- http://petchary.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/whales-and-such/ (Whales and such – Monterey)
- http://petchary.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/protecting-our-fish-earth-day-part-1/ (Protecting our Fish: Earth Day, part 1- C-CAM)
- http://petchary.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/non-human-persons/ (Non-human persons – dolphins)
- http://petchary.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/total-destruction/ (Total destruction – Kingston’s Palisadoes)
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/trinidad-crews-crush-thousands-of-leatherback-turtle-eggs-hatchlings-while-redirecting-river/2012/07/09/gJQA87tyYW_story.html (Turtle Tragedy: Work crews crush thousands of leatherback eggs, hatchlings on Trinidad beach… washingtonpost.com)
- http://www.bradenton.com/2012/07/10/4109984/activists-seek-answers-in-trinidad.html (Work on turtle nesting beach was crucial)
- http://www.stabroeknews.com/2012/news/breaking-news/07/10/tt-environment-authority-only-a-few-100-turtles-lost/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+stabroeknewsguyana+%28Stabroek+News%29 (T&T Environment Authority: “Only a few hundred” turtles lost)
- http://rjrnewsonline.com/news/local/tanker-overturns-oil-spills-vicinity-kingston-harbour (Tanker overturns oil spills in Kingston Harbour)
- http://www.ccam.org.jm/ (Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation, C-CAM/Jamaica)
- http://www.jamentrust.org/ (Jamaica Environment Trust)
- US Objects to SKorean Whaling Plan (abcnews.go.com)
Yesterday, all eyes were turned on Africa – and this mighty continent rarely makes the headlines – with the fifty-year sentencing of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor in the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Mr. Taylor was charged with aiding and abetting war crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone. There is undoubtedly a sense of relief and of “moving on” from the years when Taylor served as the 22nd President of Liberia (1997-2003).
Educated in the United States and trained as a guerrilla in Libya, Mr. Taylor was responsible for many horrors – including two periods of civil war in the country of his birth, in 1989 and 1999. When President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf requested Taylor’s extradition from Nigeria, where he was exiled, Taylor tried to escape to Cameroon, but was arrested and transferred to the United Nations Mission in 2003. In 2006 Taylor pleaded not guilty to the eleven crimes he was eventually found guilty of in the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The crimes included rape, murder, acts of terrorism, enlisting child soldiers and enslavement.
So, justice has been seen to be done and, despite some mixed reactions in Liberia itself, Sierra Leone has greeted the sentence with joy. The rest of the world sees this as a stern warning to would-be dictators and despots, wherever they may be. We know the stories of blood diamonds, amputations and other horrendous human rights violations. Now, can both countries take a deep breath, swallow hard and start to move on from that era of pain and trauma?
In Liberia, a little hope comes from a perhaps unlikely source. Like modern-day gypsies, surfers roam the globe, surfboards tucked under their bronzed arms, seeking new places to ride the waves. And Liberia has gorgeous, largely unspoiled golden beaches blessed with deep, deliciously rolling waves. Here is a blog post from a few days ago from the town of Robertsport - only about ten miles from the border with Sierra Leone - which brings good news. A small community-based organization, Robertsport Community Works, founded with money from overseas, not only encourages surfing but has also engaged in income-earning and environmental projects in the area.
More than a decade after wartime aid workers left surfboards with a few eager young men in Robertsport, Liberia has been declared a “surfing nation” by the International Surfing Association. This official designation means that Liberian surfers are now eligible for ISA support, including contest support and scholarships, through the association’s wide network.
Our thanks to partner Surf Resource Network for helping to make this longstanding dream a reality. We are certain that this important step will benefit Liberian surfers as they promote the sport and as they seek out wider recognition in the region. This official designation will also raise the profile of surfing in Liberia and further attract surf tourists interested in sustainable tourism that directly benefits the local community.
At Robertsport Community Works, we have been mentoring and supporting local Liberian surfers since 2009 by co-organizing the annual Surf Liberia Contest, helping to connect surfboard and gear donations to surfers in need, and mentoring surfers to finish secondary school and move on to university or vocational training.
Congratulations to all Liberian surfers and to those working hard to raise the profile of surfing in Liberia!
Related articles and links
Charles Taylor sentenced to 50 years (guardian.co.uk)
Charles Taylor’s heavy sentence a stark warning to world leaders (theglobeandmail.com)
Joy in Sierra Leone, mixed feelings in Liberia after Taylor sentencing (theglobeandmail.com)
http://www.surfliberia.com/ Surf Liberia
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/8092112.stm: In pictures: Surfing in Liberia
A fellow-blogger who wrote a list for Canada, where she now lives, challenged me to do the same for Jamaica. I hesitated, not wishing to generalize too much or to be so specific as to offend anyone. So, please do not take this list too seriously. You might think of some better ones. Here goes:
- When giving your name over the phone, you are asked, “Mrs or Miss?” (if you are a woman, of course). I usually say, “It doesn’t matter.” But I know – correct titles (especially “Dr.”) do matter. And unlike in the UK, dentists and surgeons are called “Dr.” as well.
- You tune in to the radio, and hear the announcer read out funeral arrangements for Miss Tiny, who has eight children, twenty-two grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren, and will be buried in the family plot.
- Wanted men are known only by their nicknames – “Nose,” “Indian,” “Dog Paw,” “Ants Man” etc… or scary ones like “Satan,” “Glock” or “Bullet.” In fact, nicknames are big in Jamaica. A man christened “Zephaniah,” for example, might have been called “Randy” since childhood, and that name sticks. Usually only family members and close friends know the childhood nicknames, obviously. But the wanted men’s nicknames are more “street names” – those that they are known by in the community – and often their friends and neighbors have never known their real names.
- If someone says “Good night” to you at seven o’clock in the evening, it does not mean you are all about to go to bed. It is a greeting.
- No self-respecting PR event is complete without the presence of at least one ever-smiling beauty queen, posing and getting lots of photo-ops.
- Every radio and television ad includes a song extolling the virtues of canned sausage, for example. A soulful female will sing passionately – even romantically – about a soft drink or an insurance plan.
- When you hear a cacophony of car horns; but you must translate them. A sharp toot can mean “I am waiting for you to turn out of your wretched front gate, get on with it,”; a gentle toot and flutter of the hand means “thank you,” when you give way to another vehicle; and of course cab drivers have a language all their own – mostly consisting of angry blasts, one arm hanging out of the window that is used to convey the level of impatience; and of course, the bad language, which usually has something to do with a piece of material. My advice: Smile sweetly, and think of something very beautiful.
- When, as soon as you enter a government office, you are told to sit down, immediately.
- Water is always referred to as “the precious commodity.” ”People” become “persons.”
- While browsing the morning newspapers, you will be startled to read headlines such as “My penis is too large.”
- At least two types of chicken are on every menu. And, by the way, there is a packaged soup called “Cock Soup.” Visiting English friends shrieked with laughter when they saw this, and took several packets home to give to their friends.
- When someone enters your yard during mango season, their immediate instinct is to look up at the trees. It’s a sort of knee-jerk – or rather, neck-jerk – reaction.
- When you see people wearing hoodies when the temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrrr!
- When phrases such as “soon come,” “not far,” “a few chains down the road,” “I’m on my way,” “be there in five minutes,” etc. need to be approached with caution. Measurements of time and distance are very elastic…
- When, almost everywhere you go, you look up and see green hills or folded mountains on the horizon, with clouds piled up on them; or look down, and see the Caribbean Sea, glittering in the sun.
I think that’s fifteen! Please feel free to send me your own contributions…
- What Is Driving Jamaica’s Solar Growth? (solarfeeds.com)
- Skatalites’ bassist Lloyd Brevett dies in Jamaica at 80 (thegrio.com)
- I Like Goats (journey4mj.wordpress.com)
- Jamaica moving to reduce energy costs (caribbean360.com)
- Mystic Bowie’s “Sweet Jamaica” Celebrates Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary (repeatingislands.com)
- The Harder They Come showcased Jamaica’s culture (repeatingislands.com)
- Jamaica! (about.me)
- Sunday Steam (petchary.wordpress.com)
- In Praise of Jamaica and Jamaican Politicians on World Press Freedom Day (newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com)
- Sunday Sparkle (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Jamaica 50 could make or break Lisa Hanna. Which will it be? (newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com)
- Veggie Jamaican Patties at Jamaica Kitchen in South Miami, FL (vegontherun.com)
In the state of Denmark, yes. A Jamaican version of “Hamlet” would be a challenge for any playwright (who would be our Ophelia, for example?) but let’s just insert the name of our hapless island in there, for Denmark, anyway.
Last week was celebrated (if that’s the word) as International Anti-Corruption Day. And oh, it is always so much easier to stand up and make a fine speech about corruptionthan it is to actually do something about it.
Our local anti-corruption warrior brought together two leading politicians, with the aim of pointing their noses in the direction of campaign finance reform, for a start. Fine, as far as it goes, although both political parties are wreathed in ambivalence on that particular topic. We won’t hold our breath, will we?
I won’t quote all the lofty words that were spoken by the speakers – I am sure they all meant well. A police official spent less time beating about the bush. He told us that most Jamaican police officers fail lie-detector tests, and that corruption is still a major challenge.
But as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon says, “corruption afflicts all countries” – although ironically, it hardly afflicts the aforementioned Denmark, which is the second squeaky-cleanest country in the world after New Zealand, according to Transparency International‘s Corruption Perceptions Index. Times have changed since Shakespeare’s day. By the way, Jamaica is 86th on TI’s Index, so semi-rotten by global standards. I wonder about a country like Somalia, which festers at the bottom; have Somalis completely given up on their society and their economy?
The Petchary has this deep, gut feeling that, well – perhaps we really can’t do much about corruption. We can spend millions on anti-corruption conferences, we can speak for hours, we can conduct anti-corruption campaigns, we can run for office on an anti-corruption platform, we can come up with action plans. We can wag our fingers and say how terribly bad it is, and hope someone is listening. But it will go on. It might go underground, but it will be like an underground stream that never runs dry and that wells up when the rain falls.
The image of corruption as a stream, tainting everything in its path, is indeed a popular one. But a more appropriate image to me is that of a stagnant pool of water. As I pass the dismal gullies and drains of the city of Kingston, it is the kind of pollution that makes me quickly turn my head away. It is the stench that hangs over inner-city communities, especially on a hot and windless summer’s day – one that the residents have become accustomed to. They live with it.
It is a filthy pool – sometimes sickly-green with algae or colored with chemicals, sometimes with the greyish film of untreated sewage. It contains plastic bottles, and “scandal” bags (for the non-Jamaican, this is a black plastic shopping bag) containing something we would rather not know about, and the urine of rats and breeding mosquitoes.
The very deep did rot: O Christ!/That ever this should be/Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs/Upon the slimy sea.
It’s the word “upon” that I always find disturbing. The rot is so deep and thick that these creatures (“things”) cannot swim in it, they slither on the surface.
Truly rotten, like the ship that sails on it. The ship of state, perhaps.
Talking of politics, here in Jamaica the election campaign grinds on, bedecked with flags on every light pole, buxom dancing women, the eternal vuvuzelas, and the Green and Orange Ones hugging and squeezing each other for the cameras, hoping to appear on TV or in the newspapers. They call that little charade “a show of unity.”
It’s a show, all right. More anon. Still two long weeks to go, and I’ve stopped counting the days until Christmas.
- AU and ECA mark International Anti-corruption Day in Dakar, Senegal (appablog.wordpress.com)
- Mike Hanlon – 2011 Transparency International CPI Report Shows 80% Of Humans Live Under Corrupt Government (lucas2012infos.wordpress.com)
- NZ still least corrupt (homepaddock.wordpress.com)
- India Transparency International corruption index blow – BBC News (bbc.co.uk)
- Kingston’s gullies, ugh! (jamaicaobserver.com)
In my Vodpod collection on the left of the screen (scroll down just a little) you will see a video – only two or three minutes long, with no commentary. But it speaks volumes. It was made by the Jamaica Environment Trust, a non-governmental organization that continuously – and vividly – describes the slow (or in some cases, precipitous) destruction of our fragile island’s environment.
The following is the description underneath this video, posted on YouTube. It is one of several films made by the filmmaker Esther Figueroa for JET that are like a punch in the gut – especially to those of us who remember, not so long ago, when there were precious, untouched areas. It really hurts.
Please do share the video with anyone who cares about the environment, and wetlands in particular… and do support the Jamaica Environment Trust in their valiant work. Jamaica would be a lot worse off without them.
The Palisadoes Tombolo and the surrounding waters, cays and reefs constitute one of Jamaica’s most valuable ecosystems. Its mangrove forests shelter boats during hurricanes, provide a natural water filtration system and function as nesting sites for seabirds, and nurseries for marine life. The cays, reefs and beaches are important for recreation and scientific research, and are home to several rare and endemic plant species.
In recognition of this valuable resource, the Minister of Environment and Housing in 1988 declared the Palisadoes-Port Royal Protected Area under under Section 5(1b) of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act. The boundaries of the protected area extend from Harbour Head in the east to Port Royal in the West and include the biologically sensitive areas of the Port Royal Mangroves and the Port Royal Cays as well as the archaeological area around and adjacent to the town of Port Royal. The strip is a marine biodiversity hot spot, and also a RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance.
The Palisadoes is a major gateway to Jamaica, protecting the 7th largest natural harbour in the world — the Kingston Harbour — and the site of several marinas and one of Jamaica’s international airports.
The vision for the sustainable development of the Palisadoes-Port Royal Protected area as declared by the NRCA (now NEPA) and Government of Jamaica in its management plan for the site is, among others:
- To decrease the impact of pollution on the productivity and purity of the area’s water, plant and animal resources
- To reduce degradation of environmental resources through the enforcement of regulations
- To increase control by local people of sustainable income generating activities
- To recognise and restore the historic beauty of Port Royal
- To implement plans for urban growth of proper scale and character, avoiding or mitigating the impacts of development and in-migration on the environment, social conditions and infrastructure
On April 22, 2010 a project funded by Chinese Ex-Im Bank was launched by the GOJ to raise the flood-prone Palisadoes road six to eight feet above its current level and the construct a four-lane highway.
The construction of this highway raises concerns with regards to the conservation of the Palisadoes-Port Royal Protected Area and its complex and delicate ecosystem.
In 2011 a judicial review brought against the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) by JET, the Supreme Court ruled that NEPA breached the legal standard for the holding of public consultation for the development.
To date, work continues on the Palisadoes roadway, further resulting in the destruction of this coastal ecosystem.
- Environmental Watchdog Breached Rules, Court says (zadien.wordpress.com)
- Priceless Native Plants Vanishing in the Wind (zadien.wordpress.com)
- Port Royal Waiting To Be Embraced (uwtreasures.wordpress.com)
- Obeah Tourism . . . (repeatingislands.com)
The Petchary came across a video recently (posted in my Vodpod selection in the left-hand column) of a surfer with the wonderfully gritty name of Garret McNamara, who recently found himself riding what is suspected to be the tallest wave ever surfed.
“Very mysterious, very magical,” is how McNamara described the 90 foot tall, dove-blue curve of water, fringed with foam. The white track of his slide follows him down this mountain, like a skier on blue, with the continuous roar of the sea in his ears.
I try to imagine what that must feel like. How it feels in your ears, your arms, your legs, your stomach. How it sounds, how it tastes on your tongue.
Mr. McNamara was born in Massachusetts, but lives in Hawaii, the mecca of the endlessly traveling surfing community. They seem a restless crowd, always in search of the next wave – not necessarily a bigger wave, but one more challenging, different. Our Jamaican surfers – an enthusiastic young group of surfers, sun-bleached dreadlocks flying – practice on the much smaller waves that adorn the shores of our somewhat placid Caribbean sea, and then venture further afield to compete.
I believe they do well.
It is this combination of intensity and at the same time a mellowed-out approach to life – listen to Jack Johnson for too long and you will be flat on your back on the couch, moving just enough to reach for a glass of wine – that is so fascinating about the surfing lifestyle. The other thing that fascinates me is the sheer physical effrontery of it all. The Petchary recalls a visit to the famous Bondi Beach in Australia a couple of years ago (not as kitschy as I expected it to be). I sat on the balcony of the swimming club there, and watched the small figures of surfers down below, paddling themselves out on the enormous swell of the ocean, to catch a wave.
I have always been a physical coward. Some years ago, I became frozen with fright on the battlements of the medieval castle in Carcassonne, France – unable to move forward or back, clinging to a thin metal rail, while the wind blew. For the remainder of that holiday I refused to climb anything resembling a castle, settling myself firmly on a grassy knoll at the foot of each terrifying edifice. So, the thought of setting off – alone – with a piece of board for company – no protective clothing, no hand to cling on to – on a shifting and surging wall of green water; and then standing up on that piece of board, gazing down the falling slope as the wave curls above me… No.
And yet I found the short video – Mr. McNamara’s feat was achieved in just a few minutes – exhilarating. The most exciting part was when the wave broke above him, his figure becoming blurred, his shouts broken up by a fractured screen of white foam like sheet glass breaking over him. (At this point, I would have been screaming rather than shouting).
I envy Mr. McNamara for his boldness, his freedom. This is not about “conquering nature” – it is about becoming almost – almost – overwhelmed by it, and emerging cleansed and beautiful at the end.
The wave that Mr. McNamara rode was in Nazare, Portugal, where there is a 1,000-foot deep canyon in the sea that throws up huge waves – which then in turn crash against 300-foot tall cliffs. Mr. McNamara is a specialist in big-wave surfing. In Australia there is a kind of wave called the “bombora” – a series of large waves that break over a reef or a shelf of rocks, normally quite far from shore. ”Bombora” is an aboriginal name for “reef,” and it sounds like the roar of the ocean.
Indeed, surfing has become an obsession in Australia over the years – not just a Californian Beach Boys thing – and this brings me to my book review, below. I read this book (not very long) while waiting for an operation on my broken wrist, two years ago. I was captivated, and forgot to feel nervous about the surgery. This book does not glamorize the art of surfing – but for the teenage boys in the story, it is like a pulse throbbing in the wrist, surging in the veins.
And the bombora is waiting out there for them.
The act of breathing and the object that is breath seem so close; but in fact one is mastery over the other. Breath is controlled, held in place – stopped, momentarily, or for always. It is the essence of our being, and remaining. For that reason alone, this essential breath is monotonous, predictable; even boring.
And boredom is one of the overwhelming emotions – if it can be so described – in the life of an adolescent. Brucie Pike and Loonie, two twelve year-olds living in a quiet town on the wild coast of Western Australia, are determined to keep that boredom at bay. They work at it together – at first, inseparable – with ever more thrilling escapades. Their fascination is with water; first the river, then the ocean, waiting its turn. They are impatient to take it on.
Pike is the quieter boy, with older, conservative but kindly parents; his mother makes scones for tea. Loonie’s family is less secure, and his spirit is unfettered. From the start it is clear that Loonie’s daring is more sharply honed, more refined than his friend, “Pikelet,” who observes, “He never backed away from anything or anyone; that was just how he was.”
The grace and beauty of surfing was never discussed between the boys; but it was all a part of the joy of daring, of “dancing on the water.” A large part of the enormous pleasure of reading this book was, for me, sharing this joy with them, through the gorgeously descriptive prose which begins with their first surfing experience. Winter storms, perilous rocks, swells and treacherous currents; the sea is beautiful and increasingly terrifying in its power. The sea roars and rumbles its way through the narrative, a restless companion for our fearlessly happy young surfers. You feel it with them when the salt water burns their sinuses, and they are tossed down to the sea floor.
It’s not just a pretty picture, it’s a raw sensation.
This could be a happy coming of age story; but we know this is not to be, from the disturbing prelude, narrated by Pike as an older man. Our young adventurers meet the old hippie Sando, and are drawn to the enigmatic man with a long grey beard and a carelessly bold style of surfing. Through their troubled, ambivalent relationships with Sando and his young, embittered American wife Eva, the teenagers venture further into strange and difficult territory. The risks become greater, the shadows lengthen, and the boys become old beyond their years – with no way home. They are literally out of their depth, their feet no longer touching the ground.
They are holding their breath.
Yes, another thing about breath – like surfing, it can be addictive. Whether it is his father’s mountainous snores at night, the boys’ childish underwater contests in the cold river water, or the much more adult pleasures taken at Sando and Eva’s house on the hill, breath and the control of it brings risk. The sour taste of real danger mixes deliciously with the oxygen-filled delights of the wave and its depths.
When I visited Australia last year, the surfers were there. They were there at Bondi Beach, boys and girls and men and women, floating on the vast blue and white moving patchwork of sea and foam; young men with bleached hair, peeling their wetsuits down to their waists in parking lots. At Byron Bay, they were fathers and sons, laughing together at a secret joke as they tucked their surfboards under their arms and headed home; and the lone surfers were out there in the glowing dusk (a time of day when the sharks come out), clinging to the waves as if they were catching the very last one to fall onto those silken shores.
We never spoke to a surfer, did not want to disturb them. They were in their own world. As Sando says (“hippie shit, mate,” scoffs Lonnie), “It’s about you. You and the sea, you and the planet.”
Author Note: Tim Winton was born in 1960 in Perth, Australia. He has been making his living as a writer since his first novel, “An Open Summer,” won the Australian/Vogel National Literary Award. He began the novel at age nineteen while taking a Creative Writing course at Curtin University, Perth. He also wrote “Cloudstreet” (1991), which was adapted for the theater and toured Australia, Europe and the U.S.; and “That Eye, The Sky,” (1986), which was adapted for the theater and made into a film. “In the Winter Dark” (1988) was also filmed. “The Riders” (1995) was short-listed for the Booker Prize and won the Commonwealth Writers Prize. After six adult novels, he wrote his first children’s book in 1988 and subsequently several others about a 13-year-old, Lockie Leonard. He is also the author of two short story collections, “Scission and Other Stories” (1987) and “Minimum of Two” (1987). His novel “Dirt Music” (2001) won several awards and “The Turning” (2005) tells seventeen overlapping stories. “Breath” (2008) is the winner of the 2009 Miles Franklin Award for Literature – Australia’s top literary prize – which he has now won four times; and was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writers Prize. It is his first novel in seven years. Winton is active in Australia’s environmental movement, in particular the preservation of the marine environment. For more about “Breath” see http://breath.timwinton.com.au/
- Hawaiian Garrett McNamara surfs a 90-foot wave off the coast of Portugal.McNamara has been working with the Portuguese Hydrographic Institute to understand how the waves reach such record-breaking heights at this particular point By KILIAN DOYLE (theboldcorsicanflame.wordpress.com)
- From Indigenous Creation to International Sensation: Surfer Breaks World Record by Riding 90-foot Giant Wave (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- Surfer Garrett McNamara: ‘It was only when I got in the wave that I saw the size. I was in awe’ (guardian.co.uk)
- http://www.jamsurfas.webs.com/ Website of the Jamaica Surfing Association
- http://petchary.wordpress.com/?s=Jack+Johnson Petchary’s Blog on Jack Johnson
- Flyer for “Bombora: The Story of Australian Surfing” (2009 documentary)
- In the depths of Winton (theage.com.au)
A gentle wave gives these baby turtles a lift…into the ocean.
- Cuban Scientists Protect Sea Turtles (repeatingislands.com)
- Sea turtles begin to appear along NC shore (charlotte.news14.com)
- The Open Sea Galleries Offers Art in the Spirit of Ocean Conservation (prweb.com)