The love for nature is in the Bonairean’s genes. (according to Lt. Governor, Edison Rijna) Forget it!

History and the current state of affairs show something totally different!


Can the love for nature be heredity (in our genes)?

Heredity depends on time, place and population. Heredity is difficult to interpret. Precisely because it often says more about the influence of the surroundings than that of our genes.



Before the Spaniards ‘discovered’ Bonaire in 1499, Bonaire had been inhabited for at least 3000 years by people from the mainland of South America. In 1636 Bonaire came into the possession of the Dutch and the West Indian Company (WIC) started to exploit it for the extraction of, among other things, salt, lime, paint wood, goats and sorghum. The exploitation of naturenever stopped.


Current state of affairs

Clearing of nature with an accelerating speed and NO enforcement at all.

e.g. Enforcement requests about illegal activities on Plantation Bolivia, no response at all from the government of Bonaire.

For people in the Caribbean, the impacts of climate change are not a distant threat. From more frequent and intense storms to coastal erosion, loss of (marine) biodiversity and impacts for tourism, the Caribbean is already feeling the impacts of climate change on its economy, environment and population. (1)



Recent reports clearly indicate the problems nature is facing on Bonaire and how to turn the tide.

The Caribbean Netherlands’ biodiversity, health of the ecosystems and iconic species, is without exception already in a moderately unfavorable to very unfavorable state.

The existing approach addressing threats and pressures in the Caribbean Netherlands is inadequate. The predominantly negative trends will most likely continue, as there is no reason to assume that the rate of biodiversity loss will decline or stop. In general, many threats and pressures have been identified and too little is being done to stop or decrease the impact of these threats and pressures. The report states that continued inaction regarding the most significant threats and pressures will result in the state of nature becoming 100% moderately unfavorably or even very unfavorable. Moreover, the ecosystems that have been observed in an unfavorable state are also not sufficiently resilient to mitigate current and future effects of climate change. (2)

The contribution of nature to the Caribbean Island economies and the well-being of its residents is profoundly clear for Bonaire. It is understood that a lack of investment in the local ecosystems will have negative impacts on the well-being of current and future generations on the island. Providing support through an integrated framework is essential to ensure that the provision of services from the natural environment continues to support society and the local economy.

The strategic goal stated in the Nature and Environmental Policy Plan Caribbean Netherlands 2020-2030 is to restore and conserve the unique habitats and species on Bonaire.

Effective conservation of key habitat functions (e.g., migratory corridors, nursery areas, foraging areas), designate currently unprotected key habitats as protected areas, protectcaves and other key bat habitats, structural reforestation of dry forest by 2030.(3)

Much like protected areas of Klein Bonaire and Washington-Slagbaai National Park, the unspoiled natural area along Bonaire’s rugged east coast known as Bolivia is a kingdom treasure that deserves protection and preservation. Home to flora and fauna not found elsewhere, this natural landscape houses a diverse and fragile ecosystem. Just as the marine park defines and protects an irreplaceable part of Bonaire’s natural landscape, the same protection should be granted to Bolivia to preserve this one-of-a-kind area.

Unfortunately, local island history suggests that when protection decisions like this fall to a small number of local politicians, who are extremely susceptible to local political and economic pressures, development consistently trumps preservation. This is especially true when the financial gain of prominent island individuals’ rests on the decision to approve development at all costs.

“The love for nature has been instilled in the Bonairean from an early age. We have lived in harmony with nature for centuries. But we are not a reserve where we have to live like the first inhabitants around the year 1,000 BC.” (According to Lt. Governor Edison Rijna) (4)

A man is entitled to his dream, but maybe it is time for Governor Edison to wake up and to stop Greenwashing and to start thinking long term and become the Good Ancestor that future generations deserve.


1. UNclimatechange
2. Debrot, A.O., Henkens, R.J.H.G., Verweij, P.J.F.M., Staat van de natuur van Caribisch Nederland 2017, WUR 17 Nov 2018
3. Ministeries van Landbouw Natuur en Voedselkwaliteit, Infrastructuur en Water en Binnenlandse zaken en Koninkrijkrelaties, Nature and Environmental Policy Plan Caribbean Netherlands 2020-2030 Feb 2020
4. Magazine Bon Bini Bonaire, 09 June 2021