Protecting Belize From Reef To Rainforest
By Kaitlynne Haylock
From rainforest to reef Belize is a beautiful place! We have many protected areas where tall, majestic mahogany trees sway in the tropical breeze and rare, exotic plants provide food and homes for our toucans, scarlet macaws and many other animals. The tapirs and jaguars roam freely, stopping every now and then for a sip of water at the clear running streams. Just miles offshore, snappers, angel fish, parrot fish and even the big whale sharks joyfully play a game of catch around the branches of multi-colored corals.
Even with all this beauty, Belize secretly cries. Belize cries because there are people who don’t believe we need these protected areas. Instead, they want people to be able to hunt the animals, cut down the trees and destroy the watershed that protects the countryside from floods. People clear the land by burning down trees and move closer and closer into forested areas to build homes and farms. They cut logs and xate leaves to sell, making money, never once thinking they are destroying the animals’ home.
Now, there is talk about oil exploration in our beautiful forests reserves, our seas and marine protected areas. Everyone wants Belize to develop and grow. They want to build these huge ugly metal oil rigs, which will release waste material in our seas and threaten the beautiful reef and marine life. What if there is an oil spill? What will happen to our fish? How will fishermen earn a living? What will happen to our beaches?
I want to be an eco kid. I want to help wipe Belize’s tears away. I want to learn more about why rainforests are important. I want to learn how our reef protects Belize and how we can protect our reef. By learning more, I can play my part as a ten year old child to help keep Belize clean, environmentally healthy and safe. I can teach other young people and adults different ways to protect Belize and wipe away her tears. As an eco kid I can learn how to protect Belize for many generations to come, and keep Belize beautiful from reef to rainforest.