New Internationalist

Highlighting the work of photographers from the Majority World

October 2005

I am a Venezuelan biologist now studying Environment and Development in Britain. Since 2001 I have been travelling around Venezuela documenting the conservation status of national parks and promoting environmental democracy among rural communities who live in the parks and depend on the natural resources provided by them.

I particularly enjoy my fieldwork in Laguna de Tacarigua National Park, which was declared a Ramsar wetland site of international ecological importance in 1996.

I used to visit this lagoon with my parents when I was a kid and I wanted to see how it looked after so long. The changes literally shocked me. In a couple of decades the beach has been occupied by resorts and the blue crabs that frightened me as a child have disappeared from the lagoon. The fishers of a neighbouring town, famous for the quality of its fish, are worried about their future. Although the lagoon gets dry every few years as a natural process, these dry periods are now longer and more frequent than in the past.

The livelihoods of the fishing communities depend on the lagoon’s ecological conditions. If the climate continues changing, will there be any future for them?

For more information about National Parks in Venezuela see Bioparques website at www.bioparques.org

You can also see my pictures in Flickr

Cesar Aponte

This column was published in the October 2005 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 383

New Internationalist Magazine issue 383
Issue 383

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