The Caribbean is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The sky is a perfect shade of blue, the sand has a pristine white tone, and the water is teeming with life. But in the past months, if you walk closer to the water, you start to notice something amiss.
There, floating on the surface of the supposed clear water, are large mats of brown seaweed. The paradise is now murky, and the smell of decaying organic matter fills the air. This is sargassum, and it’s not just in the last beach you visited, but it’s also present all over the Caribbean region.
The climate crisis has directly led to the warming of the oceans, changes in ocean currents, and the intensification of storms, all of which have contributed to the growth and spread of sargassum in the Caribbean and even some parts of the Pacific coast.
Sargassum is a warm-water species of seaweed that thrives in nutrient-rich, warm waters. As sea temperatures rise due to climate change, sargassum has been spreading in larger quantities and at a faster rate than ever before.
The invasion of sargassum on Caribbean beaches can lead to erosion, loss of habitats, and damage to tourism, fisheries, and other coastal economies. The overgrowth of sargassum can also cause hypoxia, or oxygen depletion, in the water, which can lead to the death of marine life and further harm the ecosystem.
The sargassum crisis is a complex problem that requires a coordinated effort to tackle. Therefore, this month’s Caribbean Community Hangout aims to bring together a diverse range of experts to share knowledge, best practices, and innovative solutions for addressing the sargassum crisis in the Caribbean region.
Through this event, we aim to promote innovative solutions, foster dialogue and collaboration, and inspire action towards a more sustainable and climate-resilient Caribbean. So, whether you are a journalist, scientist, policymaker, entrepreneur, community leader, or concerned citizen, this Community Hangout is for you!
We encourage you to join us and participate in this exciting event!
🗓 Thursday 27th April, 2023
⏰ 19 pm (Suriname time) | 18 pm (Trinidad and Tobago time) | 17 pm (Jamaica time) | 16 pm (Belize time)
👩🏽💻 Join us on Zoom and Facebook LIVE
Meet our sargassum speakers
Christopher Corbin, Jamaica
Christopher Corbin is the Coordinator of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Cartagena Convention Secretariat based in Kingston, Jamaica. He assumed these duties as of September 1st 2022. Chris has been with UNEP since September 2004 at the Secretariat in the capacity of Programme Manager for it’s Assessment and Management of Environmental Pollution (AMEP) Sub-Programme.
Since 2015, he has also managed the Secretariat’s Communication, Education, Training and Awareness (CETA) sub-programme. Chris facilitated the development of and co-authored the region’s first Regional Marine Litter Action Plan and Regional Marine Litter Strategy as well as the first State of Convention Area Report on Marine Pollution. Mr Corbin, a Saint Lucian national born in Barbados, has over 30 years of national and regional programme and project management experience and has been involved in several intergovernmental processes and discussions for improving oceans governance and water resources management in the Wider Caribbean Region.
Franziska Elmer, Mexico
Scientific Project Manager at Seafields /Research Fellow at The School for Field Studies/ Host and Executive Producer of The Sargassum Podcast / Island Innovation Ambassador
Franziska is a highly motivated person with a passion for science, conservation and sustainable development. She has been working in a variety of research, conservation and teaching positions that focused on coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove forests and the more she learns about them the more they fascinate her. She wants to use her knowledge and skills to highlight these ecosystems for their ecological value and as solutions for the climate crisis.
Alexander Bruzual, Trinidad and Tobago
Alexander Bruzual is a veteran journalist with 14 years of work history in journalism & media operations. He has proven strong communication skills, with a specialty in print and digital mediums. With a background in International Relations and Criminology, Alexander has pursued a career in the intersection of social and security issues locally and internationally
Alexander has repeatedly generated exclusive crime stories for Trinidad and Tobago’s One Caribbean Media – including Trinidad Express and TV6 – on national security issues with their local & international impacts.
As a subject matter expert, Alexander has also been a panel member for discussions on criminality and regional relations in various fora. Alexander also has a passion for arts; creative writing; studies on the impacts of climate change in the Caribbean region; refugee migration/forced displacement; and looks forward to making new connections and the knowledge that this training will bring.
GET TO KNOW CLIMATE TRACKER
Climate Tracker (CT) is a non-profit organisation that aims to support, train and encourage more and better climate journalism around the world. We believe in the power of journalism, but we know that many young journalists don’t have the training, resources, or support to tell the stories they want to tell. We know that this challenge is even greater in those countries most affected by the climate crisis. Learn more.