Floods, hurricanes, and other severe weather patterns make the Caribbean islands vulnerable. Fishermen on the islands are noticing the consequences of climate change, but for most islanders, the climate problem seems remote, says Stacey MacDonald, a scientist and project lead at the World Wildlife Fund from Bonaire. “People are feeling helpless and thinking about what we can do about this major crisis.”
There are no climate plans for different islands such as Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. “We have the knowledge here, we just have to say, let’s sit down and see what we need to make a plan for each island,” says Daniel Bolin, sustainability researcher at Rabobank.
Tourism is a major source of income for most of the islands, but at the same time it also causes pollution. For example, Bonaire is looking at how to make the tourism sector more sustainable. “Remarkable statements are also made by ministers in the Netherlands, but decisions are made that are completely against that,” MacDonald says.
Looking at emissions, Curaçao stands out, says Bolen, because of the oil refinery on the Isla Peninsula. “If you compare it to the Netherlands, the islands are doing well. The Netherlands has 11% of green energy, and for example, Bonaire 27% and Sint Eustatius 40%.” According to Pauline, you have to put these numbers into perspective. The islands are smaller, there are thirteen windmills in Bonaire, which provide a rate of 27%. In the Netherlands we have 2,100, and they contribute to that 11%,” says Bolen.
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