Showing posts from 2020

To Tobago with Love

A long way from home, Richard JackJames sends Christmas greetings to Tobago from South Korea where he is stationed with the US military, his employer for the last eighteen years. Pat Ganase found him on FaceBook where he has been posting stunning aerial photos from all the places he visited, but especially Tobago. This was featured in the Newsday Tobago December 24, 2020.                                                                         Richard JackJames “shouts out” to Tobago from South Korea.     I was born in Hopeton, Bethel. I grew up with my two younger sisters and my parents who are now both deceased. My father Claude Jack was a fireman and my mother Roslyn James-Jack was self-employed, “a jack of all trades” and business woman.   I attended Scarborough Secondary School and I graduated in 2001.   My strongest childhood memory was just sitting at the airport every weekend and watching airplanes take off and land. I always dreamed about becoming a pilot. Even

Not only plastics ... chemicals too!

  Pesticides, phosphates, soap and shampoo, all have an impact on the natural world!   Dr Anjani Ganase looks at how everyday chemical use affects other species and the environment.   We impact our surrounding environment in more ways than we know. Humans alter the physical and biological landscapes and seascapes dramatically and silently. Less obvious are the chemical infiltrations that occur through some of our common activities. Our daily routines –   showering, cleaning the house, driving to work, all casual activities, even when we try to be mindful - all leave a footprint on the environment. Let’s look at a few chemicals that cause unintended collateral damage to wildlife.   The chemicals in our tyres A recently published study finally cracked the mystery of dying salmon in the northwest USA. These deaths have occurred in creeks adjacent to urban centres. For years, scientists would observe salmon suffer behavioural changes including swimming in circles, and gasping, wh

The Conscious Fisher

Lehron Narell Brooks is more than your average Tobago fisherman; he is a conscious fisher. When he fishes, he takes selectively, choosing size and species of fish. He is a self-taught free-diver and spear-fisher, with incredible eyesight; a good instinct for finding fish; and lightning reflexes. He has fished above and under water, and is distressed by the declining stock. Soon, he thinks he may turn to charter boating or art. Drawing has been his love since secondary school, but it’s the freedive fishing that gives him a charge. It’s clear though that his first love is Ayla his four-year-old daughter who is inspiring many drawings. (As told to Pat Ganase)                                    First wahoo, 48 lbs, St Giles Island, September 2015, underwater photo by Richard Parkinson     When I was 12, I had a makeshift spear gun and some swimming goggles. The first time I went under was nothing. I could barely hold my breath and it took a lot of dives to catch a fish.   Over time,

Exploring our Island Home

In our last feature “reconnect children to nature,” (October 2020) we talked about how growing up in the natural world helps us to become more human. In this sequel, we explore the process of taking young children outside, with some suggestions of where to go. Every village, beach, cemetery or old estate in Tobago holds information about who we are and what we may become. Photos by Pat Ganase Mary Hall, educator and principal of the M. K. Hall Community School in Carnbee, has some easy suggestions to help a class, a family or a group of family friends on mini-expeditions. You would be surprised how much the adults, teachers and parents and guardians, also learn on outings. The most basic rule is to allow the children to explore and find out for themselves, in safe groups. Then encourage them to share what they discover.                              By boat: view the island from the sea and feel your perspective and balance shift.   Some Guidelines 1. The

No Unwanted Gifts!

  We’re just a month away from one of the most widely celebrated seasons in the year. Coral reef ecologist Anjani Ganase suggests some ways to a more conscious observance.   If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we urgently need to change our relationship with nature. The over exploitation of natural resources has exposed us (and a significant number of animal and plant species) to debilitating diseases, devastating wildfires, deadlier hurricanes and mass die off of coral reefs and decimation of fisheries.     Gifts Galore! This typical sight on Christmas Day can be replaced with eco-friendly gift wrapping and thoughtful gestures. Photo by Pat Ganase     There is no part of the world that hasn’t been littered by plastic waste – from the highest peak of Mt Everest to the greatest depths of the Marianna Trench. Unfortunately, there still is a notion that the solution to the problem does not reside in our hands, and we continually have to be reminded by the next generation

Personal Choices protect Island Biodiversity

Can you live without eating beef? What about that semi-stray cat that gets your table scraps?   Faraaz Abdool, author of Casual Birding in Trinidad & Tobago, discusses some personal choices that, taken collectively, can make a difference to the island’s biodiversity. All photos by Faraaz Abdool                       Isn't she cute? Isn't she lovely? Don't be deceived, these lovable pets can be lethal in your backyard! Convenience in the short term can have damaging impacts in the long term. As consumers, we hold the ultimate power in the chain of supply and demand. The consumer decides what is worthy of investment and what’s not. Corporations may seem untouchable in their endless pursuit of profit, but we can shift our attention to local entrepreneurs when we are making our purchases. We have the responsibility of knowing where our food comes from, and this includes all fruits, vegetables, snacks, grains, even coffee and chocolate. Farmers who are proud to grow fo