‘I don’t want to see more graves floating into the sea’: Saving a Belize village from man-made erosion
“My grandmother and grandfather have now been swept out to sea,” said Mario Muschamp, looking out on the shore near his close-knit Creole community. “You know, their graves are gone. That is really painful.
This is the reality for the residents of Monkey River, who have watched helplessly as the football field, the homes and even the graves of their deceased loved ones were invaded by the sea.
Man-made activity has been identified by experts as the main cause of coastal erosion that is ravaging the village and causing such profound suffering, especially industrial salt mining and water diversion. The situation has deteriorated to the point that some members of the community have moved elsewhere.
The war against geotube
However, the others decided to stay and fight, and in the words of local teacher Audra Castellanos, “put Monkey River back on the map”.
Mr. Muschamp is the President of the Monkey River Basin Association, a community-based organization that works to preserve and restore the integrity of the entire Monkey River basin, while ensuring that it continues to provide unmatched value. several benefits to local residents and coastal ecosystems.
To this end, the Monkey River Basin Association has partnered with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to install 160-meter sand-filled “geotubes” in front of the most critically endangered properties.
People are working with UNDP to install geosynthetic tubes, giant sandbags that create physical barriers to wave energy and erosion, and take other measures to slow the process. coast decomposition.
‘We need climate justice’
“Monkey River Village is one of the coastal communities that we prioritize,” said Leonel Requena, Country Coordinator of the GEF Small Grants Program. “The residents of Monkey River are not responsible for the climate crisis, but they are the ones who suffer the most. What we need is climate justice.“
Monkey River’s story is about a hub of biodiversity where the river meets the sea – but more than that, it’s about a community that, like so many others, is joining forces to turn the tide of change. climate, with the support of the United Nations.
Since 2022 United Nations Global Lens community documentary video produced in 2022, another house has been invaded by the sea, but villagers determined to protect their village say nothing can wash away their determination to fight coastal erosion their.
“We did our best to try to keep what we had,” Mr. Muschamp said. “I don’t want to see any graves floating into the sea.”