Local young members of the Heirs to Our Ocean literally immersed themselves into the ocean this past week to see first-hand the impact the world is having on their own oceanic back yard.
Last week diving around German Channel and sandbar Olilai Chilton, one of the chapter leaders for Mindszenty High School and intern at Heirs to Our Ocean exclaimed, “Going diving is such an eye opener and it’s experiencing a whole other world.”
Laden Kloulubak, an heir chapter leader at Palau Mission Academy saw dead corals around the German Channel due to rising temperature and warming climate causing coral bleaching. Olilai Chilton also noted another potential contributing problem, increase in nitrates in the water due to untreated sewage released into the ocean which is another growing global problem contributing to the death of corals.
“You can really see the difference from the dead minimal life in German channel than in the Sandbar (Ulong) that’s flourishing in color and life” says Uldekel Ililau a chapter leader at Palau High School. She says that you can really see climate change taking a toll on the ocean and its life.
The first-hand experience impacted the young leaders from each of the local high schools, making them realize affects climate change was having in their own home and how it will affect their future.
Seeing all that’s happening in the ocean had them worried on how it might affect them, the impact on tourism, breaking of coral reef barriers, the sharks being finned, the stolen giant clams and breaking down of fish habitat endangering what they call “keystone” species that contribute to balance of the marine eco-system.
The experience renewed the youth leaders motivation to work on projects to help protect world around us from effects of climate change such as the creation of reef safe sunscreen by Miel Sequeira-Holm, a member of the Heirs and inspiring other youths to do the same.