The Bahamas is struggling, this is no shock to anyone. Despite the many issues with governance in this country, this conversation is directed towards you the individual.
The reality is, if you are not doing something to solve the problems in The Bahamas, you are part of the problem..... yes I said it... YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM
Too many of us have not accepted the responsibility that the future of The Bahamas lies within our actions. For so many of my peers the solution to the madness that is The Bahamas is to get up and go, find a job outside of The Bahamas and come home for vacations so you don't really have to deal with the realities of The Bahamas (I understand this). For those who stay (either by choice or lack of other options) and establish themselves in The Bahamas, I feel like we find a way to cope, we find our bubble of comfort and acclimatize to "our Bahamas" without really thinking too much about the environmental and socioeconomic ills that plague this country. It's so much easier that way. I get it... when I start to have conversations with people about education or development decisions that have become disastrous it usually ends up with everyone being frustrated beyond words.
I was embarrassed by my country last week and have concluded that we are actively destroying paradise.
I have an intern spending the summer with me, she came to The Bahamas to learn about marine science and to assist Young Marine Explorers. This was fantastic for YME we get extra help, and I am always eager to assist and inspire anyone interested in conservation..... and this friends is how you embarrassed me:
1. The first day my intern arrived I decided we would take the dogs for a walk to Yamacraw Beach - Words cannot describe the filth of that Beach. It is summer, so people tend to spend more time on the beach but that is in no way an excuse to leave you KFC, Wendy's, Carols JR and any other piece of garbage on the beach, whatever you bring to the beach take it home with you. This was my interns first Bahamian Beach experience and I felt like I took her to the dump. - It was horrendous
So maybe you are thinking I don't leave my garbage at the beach, I am not destroying paradise...I think you are destroying paradise and I encourage you to keep reading
2. Last week I took YME students to Clifton to go snorkeling and conduct a field exercise. We got to Clifton Heritage Park, we had spent our money to get a bus from East street to Clifton, paid our park entrance fee to get to the snorkel site only to find it was covered in oil. There were oil slicks on the water and oil on the beach. This was supposed to be my interns first experience snorkeling..... we couldn't go snorkeling, everyone would have been covered in oil.
Sure, perhaps you have no direct influence over the oil spills at Clifton, and you are asking yourself how you could possibly be destroying paradise?
Collectively we are destroying The Bahamas.
I have accepted the fact that we cannot wait for the government to create the change needed in this country. It depends on you and me and all of us Bahamians. There is no doubt that there is a need for reform in almost every aspect of this country from education to energy. What I ask is for you to acknowledge the fact that you , the well educated, law abiding, non littering citizen are part of the problem. Why are you the problem? Simply because you fail to be part of the solution. Reflect on your life and figure out what you need to do to make a change. It's going to take small actions by all 300,000 of us to change things in this country. I can't tell you what to do, but you need to do something, we all need to do something otherwise our standard of living, our health and economy is at risk.
We all need to do more, stop being lazy and complacent, constructively speak up about issues, become a mentor to someone, have a meaningful conversation with the students packing your groceries, maybe that student wants to be a lawyer or a banker, give them a book to read or share an experience with them. Sometimes the smallest interactions can have the biggest impact in a students life. Use reusable grocery bags (IF YOU DON"T USE REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS IT IS BECAUSE YOU ARE LAZY... STOP BEING LAZY). Explain to the student packing your bags why reusable grocery bags are important. Give a student a reusable grocery bag for them to use. Drink out of a reusable water bottle. Carry your lunch to work, or carry a reusable container if you are ordering out..... There are so many things that you can do but at the end of the day we need to start acting like a community. East St to Lyford Cay, Wolf Road and Old Fort Bay, we all live on this island together and we need to start taking control of our future which means, putting the environment and education first.
Poor Education = Poor Work Ethic = Poor Business Output
Destroyed Environment = Less Tourists = Unemployment = More Crime
Destroyed Environment = Reduced Ecosystem Services (fish, protection from storms, clean water, etc.) = Reduced Quality of Life = Unhappy Bahamians
My rant is over, I just want to see a better Bahamas....apparently "It's better in The Bahamas".... the paradise that we are destroying is better than what exactly? Right now I am not sure....... I hope we can all do something to make a change, because it is need.