Incomparable Beauty

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Jan Kok in better days

Although time has passed rapidly, I can still remember like yesterday how I, together with some friends, took one last walk in the area of Jan Kok just before I left for the Netherlands to study.

I wanted to engrave everything into my mind in order not to forget the beauty of my island. I can still vividly remember the sound of the prikichi’s chasing a warawara, the sound of crashing waves and the smell that was released by the sea and penetrated the whole area. Not to mention the elegant flamingos which proudly crossed the salt pans and occasionally dazzled us by spreading their wings impressively. Beauty so breathtaking and yet so fragile that it almost forces you to protect it.

Getting closer to the edge of the salt pans I noticed a sea anemone quickly withdrawing when my shadow fell across the water. “That’s quite surprising!”, I said to my friends: “I thought they only reacted to physical contact?!” To which my friend said: “Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one studying the ecology of this area, after completing your studies… ”

Sickening sight

Those memories could very well sound quite romanticized, but I am convinced that many have seen and experienced the same as I did in the nature area of Jan Kok.
It is therefore with pain in my heart that I was confronted with the pictures in the newspapers, on the Internet and on television of the oil spill last August. During my first holiday on the island, a few years ago, I had to experience the ecological and cultural-historical destruction in the region of Malpais (of which the area of Wechi is a part). Now this.

As experts have already indicated it will take years before the natural balance is restored. Despite the fact that the value of our nature, the basis of our existence on earth, can not be expressed in monetary terms, it is dealt with in such an indifferent way. On an island like Curaçao, everything is closely linked. On top of that there are a number of organisms that occur only on Curaçao. They are true “Yunan di Kòrsou ‘. Once they are gone, we can only show them to our grandchildren by means of photographs.

By damaging or destroying links within the natural system, we weaken the system in such way that it is only a matter of time until everything falls apart. Is this where we want to work towards? Doesn’t a reinforced ecosystem have a higher value to society? I am convinced that the answer to this last question is ‘YES’!

Ecological (and economical) links within an inner bay