Sitting at Rutaki beach with a number of onlookers was embarrassing, as diggers drove out and the sound of their work could be heard from the shore. Watching them be sprayed down after being in the saltwater on grass, metres from the beach, was another blow as we see children around the world striking school to protect our environment.
The most damaging thing I believe is the sense of hopelessness that spreads quickly amongst people as it did on the beach that day, with locals beginning to question how much difference refusing plastic bags or straws makes in comparison to the damage they were watching.
This is dangerous as what we believe is key to changing behaviour.
How can we get individuals to stop burning plastic on a small scale when private businesses can have a boat stuck on a reef (multiple times) doing massive damage without any penalty?
I empathise with Land Holdings business for the loss of their boat while it’s stuck and the work to be done to recover it.
Therefore, I would like to suggest a donation of $10,000 be made to Te Ipukarea Society to support their environmental work on our island including a specific activity with the community in Rutaki.
Te Ipukarea Society, I noted, was recently on the news to let people know about their change boxes and the need for support to continue their work. From a business perspective, a donation can be claimed as a tax write off for Land Holdings and will act as a gesture of goodwill for our environment and for locals who live here, make positive headlines in our papers and set a good example.
If you believe this cannot be achieved, I will be starting a PledgeMe page featuring the wonderful drone footage of the damage to the reef and asking the global community to donate – and hold Land Holdings accountable to match what is raised.
With a background in strategic design, and a global desire at this time to protect our environment I expect that an online fundraising petition could exceed $10,000 and bring negative attention to a local business, which I do not want, nor to highlight the fact that our government has no systems in place to protect its own reef from commercial operations.
May we be encouraged by children speaking up for our environment and be brave to do so ourselves, may we also support and encourage Land Holdings to make a stand for their home too.
And wish their boat a speedy repair and business success for the remainder of 2019. As a concerned member of the public, and a proud Cook Islander and local home owner I send my concern directly to you all and my hopes for the future of our island home.