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Apr 22, 2003

Earth Day observed with exhibitions

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In case it wasn’t on your calendar, today was observed in Belize as Earth Day. Several organisations used the occasion to highlight what Belizeans are doing to leave the planet in better shape than they found it. Patrick Jones reports.

Patrick Jones, Reporting

The exhibition at the Leo Bradley Library Centre is focusing on conservation. Organizers say it’s all about sharing information.

Glen Barrera, Library Assistant

“The focus of the display da fu enlighten the unknown about conservation and preservation of the eco-systems and our natural resources.”

Over thirty colour photographs and posters from different agencies working in the protection and conservation of Belize’s natural resources form part of the month long exhibition. Barrera says the display is free of charge and aimed at those interested in protecting the environment.

Glen Barrera

“It’s basically for everybody, for the general public. Because you cannot just say its for students because it’s not just the students that destroy the environment. You got all these big time industries that go and clear the forest to build this plant and that plant, you know, deforestation of the tropical rainforest. So its basically to inform the general public, not just kids, but at the same time we are focusing on, as I said before, enlighten the unknown, which is the younger minds, and at the same time the older ones could get an idea of what it’s all about.”

While the National Library Service will make its message of conservation available to the public over a four-week period, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System’s project is using a condensed exhibition to convey, the same message, but on a wider regional basis. The M.B.R.S. exhibition at the Belize-Mexico Cultural Institute is divided into different themes, looking at the natural resources of the member countries, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras.

Noel Jacobs, Regional Director, M.B.R.S.

“The idea is to depict the multi-disciplinary nature of the M.B.R.S. That it’s not just about fish, it goes way beyond that. It’s about fish, corals, people, and all of the multiple interactions between them.”

And in the case of Belize, Jacobs says the natural resources are in good shape, but noted that complacency is not an option.

Noel Jacobs

“In our particular case in the M.B.R.S., we deal in particular with coastal resources and from a regional perspective, Belize’s coastal resources are well off. We have a lot of bad examples within the M.B.R.S. region in other countries, but of the three, to date Belize seems to be better off in terms of the status of the natural resources. And it may be due to the fact that population density is much more smaller here, tourist visitation, even though it has increased drastically in Belize it’s still very small compared to other areas in the M.B.R.S. region. And so there is a direct link between the status of the resources and density of human presence.”

Organizers of both exhibitions hope that visitors will walk away from the displays with more than just eye supper; but will be prompted by the pretty pictures and accompanying information to do their part to help nurse an ailing mother earth back to good health. Patrick Jones, for News 5.

At the opening of the M.B.R.S. exhibition, Minister of Natural Resources, Johnny Briceño, signed a co-management agreement for the N.G.O., Friends of Gra-Gra Lagoon, to oversee that protected area near Dangriga.


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