Bonaire residents feel forgotten by Dutch politics regarding climate change problems
Many residents of Bonaire feel forgotten by Dutch politicians in connection with the climate problem on the island. While a lot of attention is paid to the Wadden Islands, this happens far too little with the island in the Caribbean, according to Bonaireans Judmar Emerenciana (25), Helen Angela (50) and Meralney Bomba (31), who joined the Greenpeace action. Together with the residents of Bonaire, the organization is currently preparing a lawsuit against the state because the Dutch government is not expected to take sufficient measures to protect Bonaire from the effects of climate change.
Recently, Greenpeace spoke with politician Ed Nijpels (VVD) about the impact of climate change Bornaie will face in the near future. In addition, the NGO stressed that the residents and communities on Bonaire must be part of the “climate table”.
Greenpeace sprak tijdens een introductie met Ed Nijpels over de ‘klimaattafel’ voor #Bonaire. Het is goed dat hier eindelijk aandacht voor komt nu de impact van klimaatverandering op Bonaire aan het toenemen is. Tijdens de introductie hebben we drie punten benadrukt 🧵 1/4— Greenpeace Nederland (@GreenpeaceNL) January 27, 2023
"We are part of the Netherlands and we are trying to protect the beauty of the island, but we need help to do that," said Emerenciana, an artist and cab driver. As a cab driver, he regularly takes tourists to the famous slave huts in Witte Pan and Oranje Pan, where enslaved people slept during the time of slavery. One of the last physical evidence of the island's past is in southern Bonaire, which will be the first to be flooded if no action is taken. "It is so important that tourists and also our children and their children can continue to see this part of the island. Otherwise, we will only have a story to tell, but nothing more to show. The story will then literally be washed away."
Helen Angela, a mother of four, is worried about the future of her children. She herself - as well as many other young people - do not yet realize the gravity of the situation, but Angela herself does. "Bonaire is a small island, and most of our inhabitants work in the tourism sector. If the slave huts and coral disappear, there will be nothing left on this island to live on," she said. "Where will we go then? You were born here and you want to continue living here, but you can't."
On Saturday, King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Amalia visited Bonaire with State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (Kingdom Relations and Digitalization) as part of their tour of the Caribbean part of the kingdom. Emerenciana, Angela and Bomba hope that the eyes of the royal family, but especially the Secretary of State, will be opened during the visit. "There really needs to be permanent solutions to our problems, and they are just not in sight," Emerenciana said. "Bonaire deserves much more attention from Dutch politics.”
Reporting by ANP and NL Times