On Wednesday, December 9th 2015, Oceana Belize organized and held “The Energy of Nature vs. the Nature of Energy” conference which brought together Belizean leaders in tourism, fisheries, investment and the scientific arena to provide academically informative and objectively provocative information about the nationally important issue of offshore oil.
Featured Guest Speaker for the Event was National Geographic Filmmaker and Oceana Senior Adviser, Alexandra Cousteau, who spoke of her love and commitment for Belize and her beautiful marine resources.
In very personal ways, Belize continues to figure prominently in Alexandra’s life. “My husband and I fell in love in Belize and with Belize. This is where he and I took our first trip together. This is also where I taught him how to dive. Later, our daughter touched the ocean for the first time in Belize. Now, we’re looking forward to bringing our newborn son to Belize. Belize is one of those places that just feels so much like home to me.” That sense of belonging speaks volumes about the Cousteau connection to Belize directly.
In the early 1970s, Jacques Cousteau (Alexandra’s grandfather) brought his research vessel, the Calypso, to explore Belize’s marine environment and became the first person to document and reveal the mysteries of the Great Blue Hole. For decades, this large submarine sinkhole had spawned colorful stories about what lay beneath the surface of this stunning blue jewel ringed by coral. It continues to draw adventurers and explorers from across the globe to dive and experience this truly unique underwater world.
Today, Belize’s $1.6 billion open economy is highly dependent on tourism. Unique, healthy and beautiful marine attractions and coastal destinations continue to ensure that Belize’s tourism product is a key economic driver. Similarly, Belize’s ocean abundance supports more than fifteen thousand Belizeans via commercial and recreational fishing. And just as importantly is the cultural connection Belizeans have to the reef itself—it’s a part of our self-identity. Within such context then, Oceana Belize is keen to promote informed decision-making on the issue of offshore oil exploration and drilling in Belizean waters.
For more information on the conference please visit event page, www.belizeoffshoreenergy.com