Saturday, September 19, 2015

How NOT to be a respectful witness

In Costa Rica this weekend, hundreds of tourists swarmed to Ostional Beach in canton Santa Cruz – most steered there by paid tour guides – to witness the migration of female sea turtles crawling from the water to lay their eggs in the sands of this national wildlife preserve. But instead of quietly observing the movements of one of Earth’s most ancient creatures, a mostly shirtless mob stormed the beach, completely disrupting protected habitat, preventing the animals from crossing the beachfront, and trampling vulnerable nests.
Local authorities were alerted, sending in three National Police officers to supplement the park’s two rangers, but they were unable to push back the crowd. The Tico Times reported that tourists splashed alongside the pregnant animals to pose for turtle selfies. Refuge administrator Carlos Hernández told the daily La Nación he had never before seen that many people on the beach. They touched the turtles, and more than a few parents set their children atop the turtles’ backs for impromptu rides and more photos.
What is happening to us? Have we reached a tipping point where we no longer have real connection to nature? Have we lost all respect as to what holds this planet together? We fail to control our personal consumption, and generate unrecyclable waste at unprecedented volume. We commodify basic resources like clean water, while allowing environmentally catastrophic exploitation in pursuit of more fossil fuel. All the while tightening political boundaries, as if water and air and all planetary life respect lines on a map.
You can read the entire horror story here; photo also from the same source.

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