Category Archives: environment

Earth Day 2013

Image via staugustine
 So often when it comes to reporting on the environment, it’s a heavy message of grey gloom and impending doom.  But today we get to celebrate Earth Day 2013 and celebrate the billion acts of green and beyond that millions of people worldwide are taking action to protect and preserve our planet.  This year, on the 43rd anniversary, we view
Image via
Earth Day 2013: The Face of Climate Change
“Climate change has many faces.
A man in the Maldives worried about relocating his family as sea levels rise, a farmer in Kansas struggling to make ends meet as prolonged drought ravages the crops, a fisherman on the Niger River whose nets often come up empty, a child in New Jersey who lost her home to a super-storm, a woman in Bangladesh who can’t get fresh water due to more frequent flooding and cyclones…
And they’re not only human faces.
They’re the polar bear in the melting arctic, the tiger in India’s threatened mangrove forests, the right whale in plankton-poor parts of the warming North Atlantic, the orangutan in Indonesian forests segmented by more frequent bushfires and droughts…
These faces of climate change are multiplying every day.
For many, climate change can often seem remote and hazy – a vague and complex problem far off in the distance that our grandchildren may have to solve. But that’s only because they’re still fortunate enough to be insulated from its mounting consequences. Climate change has very real effects on people, animals, and the ecosystems and natural resources on which we all depend. Left unchecked, they’ll spread like wildfire.
Luckily, other faces of climate change are also multiplying every day.
Every person who does his or her part to fix the problem is also a Face of Climate Change: the entrepreneurs who see opportunity in creating the new green economy, the activists who organize community action and awareness campaigns, the engineers who design the clean technology of the future, the public servants who fight for climate change laws and for mitigation efforts, the ordinary people who commit to living sustainably…
On April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. From Beijing to Cairo, Melbourne to London, Rio to Johannesburg, New Delhi to New York, communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it. We’ll harness that power to show the world The Face of Climate Change. And we’ll call on our leaders to act boldly together, as we have, in this pivotal year.
Between now and Earth Day, we’ll collect and display images of people, animals, and places directly affected or threatened by climate change – as well as images of people stepping up to do something about it. We’ll tell the world their stories. But we need your help. We need you to be climate reporters. So, send us your pictures and stories that show The Face of Climate Change.
On and around Earth Day, an interactive digital display of all the images will be shown at thousands of events around the world, including next to federal government buildings in countries that produce the most carbon pollution. The display will also be made available online to anyone who wants to view or show it.
Together, we’ll highlight the solutions and showcase the collective power of individuals taking action across the world. In doing so, we hope to inspire our leaders to act and inspire ourselves to redouble our efforts in the fight against climate change.”

  (text from

To be inspired and uplifted, view the faces from all over the world working for change at theadvocator.  Locally in the Turks and Caicos we celebrated with the TCI Shines Clean Up Campaign last Saturday.  To learn more about the history of Earth Day, please click here.

Celebrate Earth Day with TCI Shines April 20!

tci shines
Dear Stacie,

Earth Day is here once again!
As part of our efforts to keep the island of Providenciales clean, we invite you to participate in our 5th annual TCI Shines Clean-up Campaign, on Saturday, 20th April 2013 at 6:30 a.m.

Volunteers are asked to meet at their selected zones to start the clean up from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Join us at The Children’s Park in The Bight afterwards for a short presentation and refreshments.

As is customary, we will work in teams,  attached below is a list of the zones:-


You will notice that Amanyara has already confirmed their participation and have selected zone 1. Please advise us of your selection and the number of volunteers who will be a part of your team.


It would be appreciated if you could donate bottled water, gloves, garbage bags, hamburgers and hot dogs.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

NT signature
Nicholette Thomas
Tel: 649-941-5787

Less Plastic Please

  Last month Alison was kind enough to write to me, linking to this absolutely incredible infographic she helped create:
Please Include Attribution to With This Graphic Plastic Infographic
Do you have any Eco-conscious goals for 2013?  I have many; start a vegetable garden, promote our native vegetation through many field+guide+Friday posts, plan a TCI rubbish-runners event, find ways to make fleurdelysvilla and tcmillwork more eco-friendly, and in everyday life waste less and recycle more.  Thanks Alison and comrades for continuing to wage war on plastics and spread awareness on this very important issue!

A Call for Letters to the Governor and Planning

Jo Jo March 2008
On October 5th, local headlines read “$3million Dolphin Park Proposed for Providenciales” and the Turks and Caicos community responded within the week with a petition boasting 800 plus signatures and a comeback headline “PRIDE Questions Dolphin Attraction in TCI.”  Many of us believed our current legislation within the Endangered Species Act forbade the import of  Cetaceans but new reports have surfaced that these laws have been changed so that Dolphin Cove may open for business on TCI shores.    
 Jo Jo March 2008

Those that would welcome Dolphin Cove may not understand the truth about dolphins in captivity.  To begin to grasp the ethical issues one must first research how these dolphins are forced into captivity in the first place.  An  eye opening look into that industry is available through the award winning documentary film  The Cove.  I wrote this post after having seen the film myself, I never imagined such horrors.

PRIDE has written an excellent letter to the government highlighting the historic ways the Turks and Caicos Islands have served as a safe haven for dolphins for decades.  Please read the full letter here.  Yesterday I wrote my own letter to the governor:

October 31, 2012
To Governor Ric Todd,
I am writing to express my deep disappointment of the change in legislation to allow the import of animals for the purpose of human entertainment.  Months ago you took a very brave stand in this country with a push for the advancement of the Equality Bill, surely realizing that you would face controversy and opposition.  With that great stride in forward thinking and action, you have now taken a giant leap backward in amending a righteous law to an unrighteous law.  I would strongly encourage you to dedicate a few hours on researching the captive dolphin industry.   A great resource is the WDC, Whale and DolphinConservation website which posts here
“WDCS believes that the arguments against the confinement of cetaceans are so over-whelming, that any proposal to keep them captive, for whatever reason, should be rejected on animal welfare grounds alone. WDCS has a series of well-substantiated concerns about interactions between humans and dolphins in captivity. These concerns, relating to the welfare of humans as well as dolphins, apply equally to DAT. They include the welfare of the animal; the risk of aggression towards people; the potential for disease transmission from human to dolphin or vice versa; the fact that dolphins may be forced into interactions with humans and have little respite from these actions, and the fact that in so many DAT and other interaction programmes, dolphins are captured from the wild and are transported thousands of miles to suffer the effects of confinement in captivity.
Dolphins are large, strong animals, perfectly adapted to the conditions of the open ocean. Held in a confined space and subjected to forced interaction with humans, aggressive behaviour can have serious consequences. A recent study carried out by WDCS into dolphin/visitor interactions at marine parks in America records many incidents of aggressive behaviour by dolphins towards human visitors such as threats, biting and butting. This study also raises serious concerns regarding the potential for the transmission of disease between human visitors and dolphins. Inadequate regulations exist in relation to interactions between captive dolphins and members of the public. WDCS is bringing its concerns and evidence to the attention of relevant governments and other interested parties, who must address the potential consequences for both human and dolphins of these interaction programmes.”
  If you are a visual learner with a strong stomach I suggest you watch the award winning documentary “The Cove,” which will surely open your eyes to the complexities of this issue. In this country we have a fiercely dedicated environmental community.  We know we have one of the rarest ecosystems on the planet and though we are few in numbers, we know the necessary channels to pursue should our arguments fall on deaf ears locally.  We desire only positive international media attention for the good of the country but will resort to the opposite should this law not be returned to its former righteous state and the permission to the Dolphin Cove Proposal denied.
Stacie Steensland-Gaudet

  Today, I received THIS response.  I plan to drop this letter addressed to  planning today, along with another letter opposing the Leeward-dredging-proposal-up-for-consideration. I am asking everyone who cares about our environment and our “Beautiful by Nature” reputation to write their own letters to the Governor and to Planning as soon as possible.  Please sign the petition here.  Share your opinions and show your support on the facebook page No2CagedDolphinsInTurksandCaicos.  To read more about the scientific evidence on why dolphins should not be kept in captivity, see these publications on WDCS. To read the Review of the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Proposed Dolphin Park in Hanover by the Jamaica Environment Trust, please click here.

The Bleach is Back

I do hate to be the bearer of bad news.  Last July I stumbled on loads of bleach bottles washed up on Longbay Beach.  I took a month long inventory which tallied over 50 bottles of bleach and notified the DECR of the findings, concerned that they were evidence of illegal lobster catching.  Now, nearly a year later, the same trend has emerged.  After the windy and unusual weather of last week, the beach has accumulated a great deal of seaweed and amongst it, litter. LOTS of litter.  Scattered within all the garbage (mainly plastic), have been these dreaded white squeeze bottles.  In two days of rubbish runs I have collected just shy of 50 bottles.  However, for one of the first times in the 8 years I have been cleaning up the coastline, I was not alone one morning with my big bag o’ trash!    There in front of me was not one person, but two, with a giant trash bag between them, collecting garbage on their morning walk. I almost cried I was so ecstatic!  This nice couple who were staying at Villa Esencia and I had a chat and they too had been picking up many of these bottles and guessed that they had seen around 15 in addition to mine.  Sincerest gratitude to this couple who spent their very valuable vacation time making the Turks and Caicos a cleaner, greener place.  I have just spoken to a conservation officer at the DECR and hope that our marine police can determine the origin of these bottles and hopefully prosecute the criminals if indeed they are being used for foul purpose.