Protection is needed now or it’s too late

Yesterday I had some appointments in town and did my runs between different locations by thumb – hitchhiking works really well in French Polynesia, especially when you hold up a sign where you want to go.
I got chatting with a very nice Polynesian woman who picked me up, we talked about the Tuamotus, how we cruisers are blamed for pollution, harming nature and then I mentioned how few motu with endemic vegetation and birds are left and what a pity it is that the locals just burn the motu down for copra.

There were a few moments of silence and then she said: “I’ve just come back from Rangiroa and that’s what we did there for a week. With the raising of the subsidies for copra the families are fighting who gets to work which motu…”

She agreed that it would be good and important to protect a few little spots of nature, but the money’s just too good. The government claims that raising the prices for copra is a measure to help people during the covid crisis, but why don’t they give out funding for other projects? If the speed of destruction picks up there will be no nature left in French Polynesia within a short period of time.

It’s not even an argument to protect wild nature for the sake of tourism, because tourists expect coral rubble and rows of palmtrees. That’s the image of the South Sea that we have and not fertile islands with trees and soil…

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