Bonaire, the island known for its beautiful beaches and coral reefs, is facing a big problem. Climate change is threatening the existence of the island and its ecosystem. In a research by VU Amsterdam (2022), it becomes clear that the island is facing the risk of losing big parts of the island by the end of the century. Let’s dive into the problem at hand and see how you can help.
What’s happening in Bonaire?
Last year, VU conducted research together with Wolfs Company on the impacts of climate change on Bonaire. According to the study, Bonaire risks losing 1/5th of their land and their coral reefs due to the rising water levels and water temperature.
Unless we find a solution, Bonaire will be the first municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to face severe effects of climate change. In an earlier article, Daan explains why certain communities are more affected by climate change than others.
Image: The current coastline of Bonaire (upper-left) versus the coastline in 2150 in 3 different climate scenarios (Source: Greenpeace).
Climate change will have massive economic impacts for Bonaire, a municipality that relies massively on tourism to survive. Just as important, it will also result in the loss of cultural heritage. Key elements of their history and culture are at risk of being flooded.
The study concludes with the impacts on human health, and the health risks that citizens in Bonaire will have to deal with. These health risks include multiple diseases and psychological trauma.
Steps taken so far
After the release of this article by Trouw, members of parliament asked questions to the government about the current situation in Bonaire. The government responded to their questions, which you can read here (in Dutch).
In May of this year, citizens of Bonaire launched legal action, with the help of Greenpeace. They want the Dutch government to take more action to help Bonaire and its current situation. In addition, Greenpeace started a petition where people can express their support for this lawsuit.
The article and legal actions lead to a talk between government representatives and citizens of Bonaire in the beginning of this month. During this talk, the Dutch government promised more research and a protection plan to help Bonaire.
Helping Bonaire against Climate Change
You can support Greenpeace and Bonaire by expressing support for the legal action! Which you can do by signing the petition here (in Dutch).
Moreover, you can help Bonaire and the other places in the Dutch Caribbean by donating to The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) or other local charities. Lastly, it’s important to spread awareness among friends and family about the situation in Bonaire. For example by sharing this article! Together we stand strong in helping the Caribbean.