Showing posts from April, 2021

Welcoming Visitors from North and South

Our islands, Tobago and Trinidad, are lucky to lie at the cross roads of migration paths for birds from the northern and southern hemispheres. Faraaz Abdool asks us to look out for these travellers, some of which might be from North America or South America, depending on the time of year. Our hospitality means allowing them to find food in unpolluted natural spaces. All photos courtesy Faraaz Abdool   The Pectoral Sandpiper's annual migration takes it from the Arctic tundra to Patagonia and back.                                    Cocoi Herons, native to South America, are large predatory wading birds.   What exactly is migration? The term is often used in reference to human movements: emigration, immigration, rural to urban migration, colonization, and the list goes on. In nature however, migration is nothing like this. Migration is an endless cycle, tuned to the internal and external rhythms of the earth. Migratory species are intrinsically linked to our planet and its relati

Tobago ceramics for the planet

  Helen Evans created Planet Ceramics in 1998 in tribute to the world in an island which she found in Tobago. She talks to Pat Ganase about making art and a livelihood in a place of joy and endless inspiration.   WHY TOBAGO I find it very inspiring to be working in Tobago. The whole environment is invigorating. If I just look outside my shop at the ocean, it changes from hour to hour, the sun comes out, clouds drift across, light or heavy rain, it’s an extraordinary spectacle all the time. And the sunsets are stunning. Then there’s the flora and fauna, the rainforest; so vivid, so much variety. We don’t often recognize what’s in front of us. Going back to London made me see what’s here, and what’s there; allowed me to appreciate the contrasts but also what’s special about each place.                                                     Rainforest tiles, photo courtesy Helen Evans                                                          Helen in her studio, photo by Chris Meure

Resilient Chacachacare

  Anjani Ganase looks at the world reflected on one of our country’s tiny western isles, Chacachacare     The most westerly and possibly the farthest isle away from Tobago in the same country is Chacachacare. It lies in the Bocas, the body of water that separates the northwest peninsula of Trinidad from Venezuela. This island is a reflection of our human history from colonization, slavery, revolutions, agriculture, war and disease. Today, Chacachacare is visited by boaters and hikers who take the half hour trek west to the island to swim in calm sheltered bays and wander the overgrown roads that lead to the lighthouse in the north and to the famous salt pond in the south on paths that have been trod for hundreds of years.   The records of Chacachacare date back to pre-Columbian times. Archeologists have discovered Amerindian presence in middens, piles of shells, pottery and food remains. In 1498, when Christopher Columbus rediscovered Trinidad and Tobago, his fleet stayed one nig

Seaspiracy Controversy

The documentary Seaspiracy does more to spur controversy over the validity of statements and encourages finger pointing instead of fostering discussion for genuine change in the ways that marine resources are used and managed. Anjani Ganase discusses what might have been done to achieve better conversations   I don’t watch documentaries as they feel like work and are often too depressing. However, I watched Seaspiracy because there seemed to be a discrepancy between the reviews from the scientific community and those viewers not working in ocean research and conservation. Regular reviewers were left appalled by the greed and unregulated practices in the fishing industry, while the marine scientists were angered. The documentary was heavily criticized by the scientific community for the false statistics and the misinformation, including the retracted statement that there will be no fish by the year 2048. I’m not going to delve into this here, as it is covered in detail by scientist

Avoiding Climate Disaster

Every person in the world can play a part in averting climate disaster. Dr Anjani Ganase, marine ecologist reviews Bill Gates’s book and presents his advice as it applies to citizens of small islands like Tobago   Bill Gates’s book How to Stop a Climate Disaster is a practical manual on the necessary steps to bring our carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. There is no blame, rather a very specific goal to reduce the annual global emissions of 51 billion tons of carbon to net zero. To put this in perspective, the pandemic of 2020, which pulled the hand brake on the world’s economy only reduced annual emission by five percent and we obviously need to avoid the death and the economic disaster that resulted in the reduction. In fact, Gates expects to reach zero while continuing to grow economies and improving the standard of living of the most vulnerable. How do we do this? Will Power. Where do we direct this will power? Gates identifies four major sectors to focus efforts.   Sea