INTERVIEWS

TRINIDAD
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We wanted to know... how do Trinidadians relate to the ocean - as individuals and as a country? We asked three questions related to ocean conservation and cultural heritage. 

 

PAST: Do you have a favorite childhood memory of the beach? 

 

PRESENT: What's your relationship like now with the sea? What is your country's relationship like with the ocean?

 

FUTURE: What would you like to see for the future for your coast and community?

 
INTERVIEWS:

"I miss how clean the beach was, actually."

University of the West Indies, Port of Spain, Trinidad

What is your name?

 

Afiya

 

Do have a favorite childhood memory of the ocean?

 

I went to the beach so much as a child… I have to pick one memory? Well… there was this one time we went to the beach with a couple cousin and with my grandfather. Gosh it sounds so simple but it was just us at the beach playing… it was super clean at that time. 

 

What’s it like now? 

 

Right now the beach itself is more full of trash and then they are building in the area… doing construction to make it more of a tourist attraction… developing the area. So you have the runoff from the construction area and it goes into the ocean… construction as a whole kinda spoils it... hotels and tourist attractions. I miss how clean the beach was, actually. 

 

What can Trinidadians do to protect the ocean? 

 

I think we need to show more concern… just doing more as a people. Recycling and realizing how important it is… keeping waste out of it and protecting the animals. Right? So just do more and be more aware and be more active in its preservation.

"With rising sea levels our island is sinking here."

University of the West Indies, Port of Spain, Trinidad

What is your name?

 

Arifa

 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory of the ocean?

 

I have too many amazing childhood memories of the ocean! We would go into the sea while it rained, when there were jellyfishes, and at night as well… it was really nice. 

 

What’s your relationship with the ocean today? 

 

I haven’t been there in a while but now at a lot of the beaches… the sea is actually reclaiming the land… at one beach the tide broke the road and it looked like an apocalypse image. 

 

Is that a King Tide as an affect from climate change? 

 

For sure… with rising sea levels, we are sinking here… 

 

What do you think Trinidadians can do to protect the ocean?

 

Really and truly there is not a focus on the environment here. In Tobago they do a lot to protect the ocean but in Trinidad it is lacking. I think we need to change the way we look at the ocean. If we continue with this high consumerism attitude that we have by us not paying attention to global warming… we are melting the ice caps… and Trinidad is going to disappear… the animals are dying because they cannot live in higher degree temperatures of water and then the  rising tide is changing animals’ habitations. Individuals need to change their attitudes… Everything has to start from within. 

"There is mining now where there once was my beach."

University of the West Indies, Port of Spain, Trinidad

What is your name?

 

Ria

 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory of the ocean?

 

No… My brother would push me into the waves and I was so scared! 

 

What’s your relationship with the ocean today? 

 

Now I absolutely love it because it is really calm and relaxing… it is the most fun thing to do on the island. 

 

What’s Trinidad’s relationship with the ocean? 

 

South of Trinidad is dirty and eroding… no one can go to the beach. It looks like they are doing mining there now. I was just there this weekend and there was no sand to sun bathe or anything. I think it also has to do with rising sea levels. I was just there this weekend on Saturday… it is really sad. They protect the north because that is where the tourists are… but in the south not so much. The north is clean and everything is good. Locals and tourists go to the same beach.

 

Can you tell me about the Leatherback Turtles? 

 

They are an endangered species… they are being hunted so we have measures in place to protect them but they aren’t really enforced strongly. But there is a lot of tourism too so sometimes tourists are vigilant. 

 

What do you think Trinidadians can do to protect the ocean?

 

We can not litter and listen to the notifications around the turtles.

"Sundays were family days spent at the beach."

University of the West Indies, Port of Spain, Trinidad

What is your name?

 

Sandra

 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory of the ocean?

 

Yes… On Sundays my dad, we had a ritual, my dad would pack us all up, us being a family of six, and we would stay until one in the afternoon. And that would be our Sundays. It was family time and it was also being close to the water and discovering the eastern shore. We would just pick a beach and stay the day together. Sundays were family days at the beach. 

 

Have the beaches changed?

 

I think there is more awareness around taking care of the beaches… some are more developed… I think people are more mindful around cleaning up our beach and maintaining our ecosystems. I think as a child it was just a given... that you clean your trash... and now people need to be reminded. 

 

What do you think Trinidadians can do to protect the ocean? 

 

I really think it is about education and I think it is about having an understanding about the ecosystem and each role that we have to play. We need to clean up the streets because with the rain all the trash flows into the ocean. We need to educate students on what roles they play as individuals in everything. 

"People hunt Leatherback Turtle that are an endangered species here."

University of the West Indies, Port of Spain, Trinidad

What is your name?

 

Sofia

 

Do you have a favorite childhood memory of the ocean?

 

It would be going to Maracass and just listening to the ocean waves and running around don the sand because parents don’t want us to go too far into the ocean so we call it “sand bathing” and we just play around where the waves crash along the shore. And having family around.

 

What’s your relationship with the ocean today? 

 

I think I am more connected now… I am more aware now so I feel better connected with the ocean and with the ebb and flow… and just the whole atmosphere. I have a lot of friends who work with beach clean ups and turtle preservation. The tourist beach hasn’t changed so much but I know my friends who work with turtle preservation have seen a lot of pollution and they try to prevent that and do a lot of clean ups. There is a lot of hunting of Leatherback Turtle who are an endangered species here… and people steal their eggs and their shells. So, they do a lot of work to protect those turtles. So I guess as I grew up and came into contact with people doing this kind of work. 

 

What can we do to take care of the ocean?

 

For sure… just spreading the word about these amazing animals and protect our ecosystem. We should protect these animals. Everyone has their place and not just destroy a life for no reason. We have the mothers coming onto shore to lay their eggs and then the babies run out to the ocean… and it is a beautiful process. 

"The ocean is a place where I can go and clear my mind."

Port of Spain, Trinidad

What are your names?

 

Kenya, Amy, and Mumtaz

 

Do have a favorite childhood memory of the ocean?

 

Kenya: Just going to the beach is fun… just relaxing. 

 

Amy: I like to go to the beach with my family… that’s the best part about it. 

 

Mumtaz: The best would be like with family and with family friends and stuff. 

 

Are the beaches clean?

 

Kenya: It could be better… it’s definitely not the worst… but if for sure could be better. 

 

Amy: Well, that depends on when and where you are going. 

 

Mumtaz: Totally depends on which beach and what kind of year. 

 

Are there tourists beaches? 

 

Kenya: The most population tourist beach and tourist beach is called Maracas… it is the cleanest. 

 

Amy: It is so hard to get to!

 

Mumtaz: But it is the cleanest. 

 

What’s your relationship with the ocean? 

 

Kenya: The ocean is a place where I can go and clear my mind… and I love water. 

 

Amy: My family loves the ocean… to get away from it all. We go every now and then. We spend a few days. 

 

Mumtaz: I am not at the beach very often but I still love it. 

 

What can youth do to take care of the ocean?

 

Kenya: Something as simple as not leaving your trash on the beach… people don’t seem to realize that. 

 

Amy: There are developed beaches but some beaches don’t have rubbish bins. 

 

Mumtaz: Just don’t leave your trash… it is so simple. 

 

And can you tell us about your art piece you’re holding? 

 

Kenya: This?? Oh man… well this is a Mandela… it is a kinda of meditation… you can channel your energy… but it’s not done yet!

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