Future of Bonaire: Greenpeace review on the impacts of climate change on the Dutch Caribbean island Bonaire.
Bonaire or Boneiru, as it is known in Papiamentu, is a Dutch Caribbean island. An island full of heritage, gorgeous sunset views and a place that thousands of people call home. Bonaire is located in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, 80 kilometers off the coast of Venezuela. The distance between Bonaire and Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, is roughly 7800 kilometers.
The future of Bonaire is on the line. The impacts of global warming will change the identity of Bonaire. Sea level rise, the vanishing coral, extreme droughts, storms: the island will be facing many challenges. It is incredibly unjust that the people who live on Bonaire never had big industries, never emitted immense amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, but still have to prepare for this enormous existential threat.
The Dutch government has the duty and responsibility to do its part to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and to protect all its citizens against the impact of climate change. Whether it is Volendam, Ameland or Bonaire. However, compared to the European part of the Netherlands, climate policy for the Caribbean municipalities are far behind. They are left out of most, if not all, national water safety and climate adaptation plans. Combined with the already structural socio-economic disadvantages of Bonairians due to a lack of government policies, Bonairans are left with very little means to prepare the island for the impact of climate change.
The Dutch government has done very little basic research on the impacts of climate change and the measures needed to protect communities in the Caribbean Netherlands. There is far too little urgency amongst politicians and policymakers. This needs to change. Greenpeace therefore asked the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam to start a research study so that we can learn more about the impacts of climate change on Bonaire. The Caribbean Netherlands needs to be treated with the same urgency when it comes to the climate crisis as any other municipality in the European Netherlands.