Showing posts from January, 2019

Welcoming Long Distance Travellers

How do we make visitors welcome on our islands and in our seas? By preserving habitats and food sources. But most importantly, by appreciating the visitors. Dr Anjani Ganase considers the meaning of Trinidad and Tobago’s signing the Convention to conserve migratory species such as sharks, birds, turtles and the Monarch Butterfly.  On December 1, 2018, Trinidad and Tobago became the 127th country to sign on to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, as part of the United Nations Environment Programmme. According the Convention, countries must recognize that migratory wildlife and the environments that support them are irreplaceable, have extant value for future generations and it is our responsibility to wholly care for these organisms. Signatories of the Convention are mandated to actively protect migratory wildlife and the habitats they utilise when they occur within the country’s jurisdiction. This includes their food sources and the quality and co

The Journey beyond Coral Reefs

The initiative to share the world of coral reefs with citizens and students of Trinidad and Tobago may have ended, but the quest for healthy oceans and the health of people continues. Dr Anjani Ganase reviews the International Year of the Reef TT and encourages us to continue “chasing coral.”  Awareness and Action 2018 was the International Year of the Reef (IYOR), a effort initiated by the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) to raise global awareness of the value of coral reef ecosystems. Trinidad and Tobago joined several countries around the world, as well as forty non-governmental and intergovernmental agencies, to learn about coral reefs and the threats they face, especially imminent climate change, and to engender action for coral reef conservation.  Throughout the year the IYORTT partnership grew significantly. It started with a core group of scientists who began discussions with other environmental groups and educational institutions. As the conversation grew,

Why Mangroves must be protected

Mangrove forests provide coastal protection and habitat for many species. Dr Anjani Ganase takes us into an ecosystem that is as valuable as coral reefs, especially to small islands like Tobago. Mangroves are often depicted as uninviting and unfriendly environments, not pleasing to the eye, a little bit smelly and a haven for mosquitos and sand flies. Yet within this narrow piece of real estate between terrestrial forests and marine ecosystems, mangrove forests are lush with marine, estuarine and terrestrial life and, when protected and managed well, rich in biodiversity.  Mangrove forest, Petit Trou, Tobago. Photo by Anjani Ganase Mangrove forests are inshore coastal communities, where they can occur in salt, estuarine or fresh water conditions. They prefer calm waters that allow the mangroves to effectively root themselves into the substrate of the water column without being swept away. Even though mangroves may prefer freshwater conditions - they occur in areas with hea

Blue Sky Dreaming 2019

Pat Ganase draws on the recommendations of the current IPCC report on climate change, and imagines a more hopeful future for Tobago and Trinidad. 2019: will it be a year for more of the same; or a year marked by the radical change that is required at environmental, societal and economic levels. How do we move forward? These are the circumstances that now determine our immediate future: climate change (the world), economic growth (the nation) and personal fulfilment.  Let us consider the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The October 2018 release is an impassioned plea (from thousands of scientists) to persuade world leaders and the most impactful nations that we need to keep global warming within 1.5C above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900). A slip to 2.0C would have disastrous consequences for millions around the world: greater sea level rise; loss of habitats; migration of species; limited food and water in certain regions; spread o