We’ve had several people on the island mention how they wish the island worked together more. When we were on the mainland meeting with government officials and non-profits who have worked with TC in the past, they all said there was a lack of leadership on the island that made working with the community difficult. As I’m getting to know people here I’m recognizing all these individual skills and strengths. I’m also noticing that some of them have common concerns and aspirations, but instead of talking and collaborating with one another, they go off and try to do their own thing.
Anja, Margaret and I are talking about organizing an island-wide beach clean-up day. I know, not terribly original, but we are hoping to make it a day for the community to come together. During our week on facilitation at DPMI, we learned that one of the most important things a facilitator can do is create a safe environment for sharing. I’m hoping that with this simple, shared goal of cleaning up the island, we might create an atmosphere where people can take pride in their island and talk to others about common goals.
At the same time, we’re starting to research the feasibility of some of the needs the islanders have mentioned, specifically a safe-swim zone by the dock, mooring buoys, solar energy, and waste disposal. We’re also looking into better signage on the island about the reserve. Most of the tourists coming to TC are only here for a day or two and we’ve found overwhelmingly that many of them don’t even know that they are in a marine reserve. There’s a $15 conservation fee, best practices for snorkeling or diving in the area, and restrictions against fishing for lobster and conch in certain areas and during certain seasons. However, most tourists don’t know about these guidelines and end up unwittingly breaking rules and harming the reef. The current signs are outdated, faded or placed badly…one is actually on the backside of a building.
Well….the 1 reader of my blog out there….I feel like I should apologize. This blog has become more of me thinking aloud about issues on the island and although these things are incredibly interesting to me, I worry sometimes that they’re quite boring to others. Honestly, even most enviro geeks aren’t as excited about waste disposal as I am. I fear I am becoming the boring spouse who comes home at night and can’t stop droning on about work….and it’s not even the juicy workplace gossip (cause there IS plenty of that going on the island!) You’ll have to track me down for the details on that.