The fringing reefs of Espirtu Santo

As an environmentalist and geographer, normally when I travel in developing counties I’m overwhelmed by scenes of pollution and poverty and can’t help but worry about our natural environment and the indigenous minorities that rely on it for their subsistence.  In a rare travelling experience, I recently felt the complete opposite and returned home feeling positive and excited about the world. I went to Vanuatu, the country that’s often called the world’s happiest place. And, maybe it’s true. Not only is Vanuatu’s natural environment pristine, its people are extraordinarily bubbly, approachable, kind and welcoming.

Fringing reefs around the world are at threat. Climate change driven environmental threats including ocean temperature rise, acidification and pest infestations combined with human inducted threats including over fishing and inappropriate development are leading to the destruction of these reefs worldwide.  Despite these threats, on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu the fringing reefs are in very good condition, as I found out first hand.  It was fantastically refreshing to visit somewhere where the environment was being treated with respect and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (until I returned to Brisbane and read about the treatment of the Great Barrier Reef!).

This is the underwater paradise that greeted me just 10 m from the beach…

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One thought on “The fringing reefs of Espirtu Santo

  1. Beautiful coral reefs in Vanuatu. Just return from diving in Raja Ampat, the underwater condition was spectacular, I have never seen so many fishes covering corals wall – practically we could not even saw the corals wall because the fishes were just too many! Anyway, the residents in Raja Ampat archipelago are not the richest compare to the mainland, West Papua but one thing, they care about their ocean and they daily check each boat entering MPA area in Raja Ampat. There is hope.

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