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July 5, 2022

The Ocean: humanity in deep waters


By Darrion Narine, CCSJ/AMMR Programme Coordinator

Earlier in June, we celebrated World Oceans Day which brings awareness to the biodiversity and importance of our world’s oceans.

The ocean is home to a variety of species of marine life and forms an important part of the global ecosystem. Two thirds of the Earth is covered in water and most of it is unexplored.

The vastness of our oceans has been left to the imagination with pop culture phenomena creating depictions of what they believe exists within the deep blue.

However, while there are many aspects of the deep blue left to the imagination, the aspects which we have explored presents numerous concerns.

Over the last two decades, plastic pollution has resulted in islands of rubbish being formed in our oceans. These plastics have contaminated our waters and are having many adverse effects on the marine life.

The famous leatherback turtle which nests in Trinidad and Tobago has, on several occasions, been caught in plastic or consumed plastic products, mistaking it for jellyfish.

Additionally, human practices have resulted in massive damage to the oceans and  animals that live there. Oil spills, illegal quarrying, climate change and pollution have caused many adverse effects on our oceans and environment. The rising temperature of the oceans has seen mass migration of species of fish which impacts the marine ecosystem.

All of these practices also impact vulnerable communities like fishing villages and those who live in poverty, since damage to marine ecosystem negatively impacts their livelihoods.

If one day all the tuna migrates, a fisherman will suffer since he may depend on a big catch of tuna to sell to restaurants in order to sustain his family.

As we become more globalised and industrialised, we must ensure that there is appropriate legislation for the protection of our environment and oceans. We need to see more accountability by big corporations and powerful governments. In our region I am most impressed by Belize whose protection mechanisms have allowed them to sustain the largest living barrier reef in the world. Even right here in our country, I am impressed by the conservation efforts of the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, which is the oldest protected rainforest in the Western Hemisphere.

Developing a global environmental consciousness is essential for our survival and for the protection of our oceans, forests, and our world.

In Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ he speaks about viewing nature as our family, for e.g., brother Sun and sister Ocean. I pray that we will raise our consciousness and save our planet from the deadliness of pollution.



“…I would note that in another passage of the Gospel Jesus says: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’

(Mt 25:35). Jesus could speak those words because he had an open heart, sensitive to the difficulties of others. Saint Paul urges us to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep’ (Rom 12:15). (84).

– Pope Francis, Fratelli Tuitti

CCSJ Social Justice Education Committee