Sadly though the world around me is as hostile as ever. The Daily Nation reported this morning that natural gas has been stuck off the coast of Malindi only 60km from the reef. Who knows what sediments and chemicals this will throw into local waters killing coral and impact it will have on climate change and future coral bleaching. Yet most of the meals in my life have been cooked on gas, so what can I say really? I guess what worries me the most is the lack of conservation ethic in Kenya and poor attention to detail, which will make accidents more likely.
This past week I had a Kenyan volunteer assisting with the marine programme, who I asked to look at the conservation of sand dunes in East Africa and find out what studies have been done. His report concluded, that we should plant sand dunes with exotic tree species to increase the productivity of that habitat. I was horrified by the lack of understanding about conservation, but even more I felt quite vulnerable when I explained "A Rocha's" view on conservation. In order to help him understand I tried to get it to basics saying that we believe that natural systems are the goal we should aim for, not "improved" or altered for economic extraction. On this simple level I felt the conclusion was quite shaky and in reality it is. A Rocha may want to see natural systems, but maybe the Kenyan people want money and productivity. Who is correct? Am I just a rich kid, free from serious economic worries, enjoying nature as a luxury most people cannot afford?
Of course I don't believe this view in reality and recognise that people cannot live from eating money. A Rocha and other conservation organisations have shown that environmental degradation usually hits the poor the hardest and it is the poor that need conservation principals the most. However, the attitudes which govern decisions while drilling for gas to those decisions about sand dune conservation are very real and something one must be aware of working in this context. There are many people who simply don't understand why anyone should care about the sea. I have an uphill battle to fight.
|Newly discovered patch reef I have dubbed "Round Reef"|