Invisible but indispensable – 2

Humans Although a fish is completely comfortable in the water that surrounds it, it would soon kick the bucket when this water would be poisoned. The same things will happen to a human who would keep on living  his or her daily life in a sea of toxic gases. Unfortunately, this mixture is completely invisible, so we tend to think of it as irrelevant. “We do not see it, so nothing wrong .” Nothing is further from the truth. As […] Read more »

Invisible but indispensable

Air What constitutes air, anyway? We often hear things like: it smells good here, it stinks, dry air insulates well, or: we should keep an eye on the air pressure of our tires. But these remarks only deal with some of the properties of air. Air, on earth, is composed of 78 % nitrogen and 21 % oxygen. The remaining 1% of air is made up of a combination of noble gases, water vapor and carbon dioxide, which constantly vary […] Read more »

Another black day for mangroves

Once again the fragile and threatened mangrove ecosystem of Curacao has been dealt a blow. Amigu di Tera (Friends of the Earth Curacao) has circulated this picture of developments currently underway at Puerto Oasis at Spanish Water. Mangroves had to go in favor of a pier, and what’s even worse, no permit has been issued for this development, nor requested by the developer. About 15 years ago I performed calculations of the remaining surface area of mangroves compared to about […] Read more »

The black irony of it all

On August 11th I acted as a nature guide during the monthly excursions we organize together with Grupo Bina. This time we took the participants on an end-of-the-day tour along the coast of the salt pans of Jan Kok, a beautiful area with lots of wildlife. During the trip, I happened to mention the current gas and oil exploration hype our government created (including the press statement of one of the ministers that we all should invest in Arabic headgear), […] Read more »

Dushi Korsou?

One of the projects we are working on is the production of a 6 part video documentary series about the values of, and surprises to be encountered within, the natural environment on Curacao. This means taking out my camera backpack on an almost daily basis and immersing myself in the ‘wild side’ of Curacao. This should have been a pacifying and mind-cleaning process. However, a series of observations over the last few weeks deeply disturbed me and ‘inspired’ me to […] Read more »

A rocky warning

As a geologist, I’ve been trained to be some sort of detective, investigating the doings of the earth through time. Rocks are wonderful subjects to study, because they don’t run away or argue with you, and provide you patiently with a wealth of information, as long as you know where and how to look. Advances in methodologies allow us even more insights in modern and past processes. I might be biased, but geology is a wonderful science! Today, through a […] Read more »

Oil addiction

Tomorrow we fly to the Netherlands, in order to celebrate Christmas with my parents. Unfortunately this will add significantly to our carbon footprint, something that I’m not too happy about. My intention is to compensate this next year, at least partially, by using a bike to transport myself over the more manageable distances. This resolution is not without risk to my well-being, however, because I’m not sure I will not be squashed by one of the more than 80.000 registered […] Read more »

Our failures in design

I recently came across an interesting quote: ‘pollution is a symbol of design failure’. This wisdom comes from the book ‘Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things’, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. These few words describe very accurately what’s really wrong with our current way of living. In nature everything is recycled. Even excrements of animals are input for other intricate parts of the Cycle of Life. Only the human species, which biologically is simply one of […] Read more »

Carbon Footprint

In my mind, this video recording symbolizes the footprint left behind on Curacao by the people from the 20th century. The refinery on Curacao was an essential link in the war industry during especially the second world war, at that time mainly orchestrated by the Americans. There was a huge demand for  aircraft fuel, the lighter fractions from the imported unrefined oil. The heavy, tar and asphalt-like substances were dumped in a large outdoor depot, now known as the asphalt […] Read more »