This week we experienced a demonstration march demanding that permissions be granted for the South Beach Project (Ironically, they were stopped by police because they did not have the necessary permits to parade). The Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development also held a town meeting to discuss this project and its effect on our environment and society.
According to the ACCSD, they are actively protecting the future of our island. So this sparked my interest in finding out how our youth feel about all this. After all, aren't we the future? Are we even aware of what's happening? Well there was only one way to find out.
So, equipped with my pencil and pad, I ventured out to ask, "What do you think about the South Beach Project?" and “How can you help support your belief?” These were some of the replies:
Bernabe & Ariel- We think the South Beach Project is an outrageous idea because the tourist come here to enjoy the natural beauty of Belize not for what they already have at their country. We believe it will not benefit us at all; we Belizeans love the reef and the mangroves, that’s why we would give anything to protect it. We will not let an outsider come and destroy Belize’s most precious pearl. We can show our support by protesting and making our voices be heard against this ridiculous idea.
Kristy- Well, I believe that the South Beach Project is ridiculous because a lot of organisms will die in the making of such project. Also, if it is built no tourist will come to San Pedro again because there will eventually be no barrier reef to visit. The reef is our main attraction so why would they come and stay in an expensive hotel and see a dead ecosystem. Belize is known for its beautiful and colourful reef, which is the second largest throughout the world and unique culture. So why destroy such a masterpiece; we who depend on it should help stop this project.
Kyle- I am a person that is really interested and concerned about the change and damage of the environment. For this reason, I am fully against the South Beach Project. If this is to occur, many organisms living in the area would lose their habitat and the sediment could flow to the reef and damage it. I do hope that something could be done to stop the project. I believe this is the time people should reunite and fight for what they believe.
Pedro- I, as an environmentalist, believe in the better of the world especially our home. Therefore; if we love our town let us protect it, not ruin it.
Julie- I am against this horrible project. This will cause a great impact to the reef. The reef is sensitive and it was given to us to treasure not to destroy. I believe that, yes, the South Beach will start well but eventually after a few years it will fail. Then what, the reef will be destroyed and it is not like it will rebuild itself in two years; it takes centuries. First of all, the tourists visit the island to enjoy the beauty of the reef and our unique culture not for something they have at home. So think carefully and help protest against this project.
I was pleasantly surprised that most of my peers are aware and have a basic understanding of what is going on and were also eager to share their strong opinions about it. Most are in agreement that, even though, this project might create some employment now, it will have many negative implications in the future. And many would not like to lose the “island” charm that has made San Pedro special.
And, contrary to what the developers are saying, our teens are well aware of the harmful effects on our environment. Way to go my friends! We are not as uninterested, ignorant and caught up in our own shallow, little worlds as some may think. I strongly encourage you to continue to learn more about this and every other project that is being proposed for our home and let’s get the word out on the facts and our opinions. The future is ours. Let’s make sure that adequate planning and consideration is taken as we move into it. Til next week…. continue speaking out….Lizzy!