Just a few days ago, the venerable Outside magazine published a heartbreaking article about Australia’s reef titled Obituary: The Great Barrier Reef 25 Million BC to 2016.
It’s interesting that just this week, the Prime Minister and Cabinet of Belize is allowing, without public consultation and amidst a wave of corruption scandals in the pretty much broke government, oil exploration less than one mile from the second largest reef in the world. Off the shores of Belize.
Oil exploration. Near our reef. The reef that supports the livelihood of every single person on Ambergris Caye directly or indirectly. And a large percentage of the country of Belize.
“They” plan to use seismic testing – a method that sends compressed air streams and/or sonic waves to the ocean floor to gauge the geological resources that might lay within. (Who is actually doing the testing and how much was the contract sold for?)
It is an EXTREMELY controversial method since these sonic waves can travel thousands of miles – causing species, at the best, to migrate away and at the worst, deafness and/or death to animals like whales, dolphins, sharks and more.
One might wonder: This sounds incredibly foolish and short sighted. In fact, how is this possible?
Surely it can’t be happening. Belize has a system in place called the Environmental Impact Assessment. The Department of the Environment says:
“An environmental Impact Assessment, otherwise called an EIA, is a planning tool that promotes environmentally sound development practices. It examines both the adverse and the beneficial environmental consequences of a project design on human health and the natural and cultural environment and insures the development of mitigative measures to address these consequences during project development”.
PHEW! Thank goodness this exists. There could not be a project that could more effect on our environment AND nature and our culture. Not to mention our livelihoods and our pocket books.
But according to this article in Ambergris Today, THIS OFFSHORE SEISMIC SURVEY DOES NOT REQUIRE AN EIA!
The article also says: Oceana, the huge organization that helps to protect the ocean, is urging for a stay until it can be properly researched and vetted.
ON TOP OF ALL THIS: According to Breaking News Belize – “Belize is set to receive a loan of US $200.5 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to finance a 2016-2020 strategy plan aimed at addressing social, environmental and economic challenges.”
“CDB remains a committed partner in helping Belize achieve sustained growth and development. This strategy will bolster the government of Belize’s ongoing reform efforts by supporting interventions that will support inclusive social and economic development, environmental sustainability, and the promotion of good governance,” said CDB’s director of economics, Dr. Justin Ram.”
SHOCKING. A loan? What is the interest rate? What’s the plan to pay THIS back?
Here’s what you can do right now. Send an email to the Prime Minister through WWF. Talk to your local representative. Share articles.
Be MAD. How dare the government put our MOST UNIQUE ASSET – THE REASON MOST OF OUR TOURISTS VISIT OUR COUNTRY at risk?
I also ask that those with a huge monetary stake in the country speak up. Money does talk.
Leonardo DiCaprio and his team, for instance, are planning to develop Blackadore Caye (between the mainland and Ambergris Caye). Mr. DiCaprio, what do you think of this?
Other large hotel and business owners – please speak up.
Everyone’s voice matters. This is not just absurd – it is detrimental to our livelihoods.
SAY NO TO OFFSHORE DRILLING. DEMAND AN EIA (WHICH INCLUDES A PUBLIC CONSULTATION).
Maybe my April Fool’s Joke Article about an Oil Refinery at Caye Chapel wasn’t that far off the mark.
Let me know what you think. Because I AM FIRED UP.
UPDATE: There have been two eye witness accounts –> The boat that is doing seismic testing on our Belize Barrier Reef is already here in our country. It was spotted on Sunday working alongside lighthouse reef (home to the Great Blue Hole) by Northern Two Caye .
Please PIN and help us gain world-wide momentum.