The purpose behind my chosen image is to show how well our conservation area is protected and looked after by volunteers and landowners. In this image we can see the vibrant green colors which portray the healthy growth of trees in this area.
There is a beauty to nature at first glance, but when you take a deeper look, sometimes what you are looking at is actually invasive species. Obtaining a better understanding of what invasive species we have, may change our attitudes towards what we see and towards better preserving our native species.
The essence of my photo is to inform people about the African Tulips true intent of being an invasive species to Cook Islands ecosystems, despite its beauty. This plant will eventually outcompete indigenous plants, and along with these native plants our cultural knowledge and natural resources.
In today’s society we filter out the unappealing reality so that’s we can focus on 21st century priorities.
We prefer to look through life with a lens rather than see it for what it actually is.
All four shots display a contrast between nature and pollution. Shots were taken within the Takitumu Conservation Area, showing just how easily unnatural resources can make its way into natural environments.
For thousands of years, the way of life in the Cook Islands was simple; we lived off the land, off the sea, always thanking our moana and our enua for what they provided for us. That is the complete opposite of the lifestyle humanity leads today. Our lifestyle is now one of ‘take, take, and take some more’, giving nothing back to the planet that we are depleting- even though our culture is rooted in protecting our natural resources. It is time that we brought that way of thinking and living into the future; of preserving the best of what we have now for the future.
The photo collage I have created highlights an alternative contrast of how beautiful our island is in comparison to the disgusting reality our modern world has turned into. I collected and took these photos from a variety of locations ranging from the Avana point to the rubbish dump in Arorangi.
In this photo we can clearly see plastic waste is out numbering other waste products at the Arorangi Waste Management landfill. Our dump is overflowing because of our poor use of plastics.
We should all be part of a solution to slow down or even cut down the use of plastic, instead of being part of the pollution problem.
The ‘Taro Patch’ acts as a natural filtration for nutrient runoff coming from the land, before going out to sea.
Maintaining Taro plantations and wetlands around the island is important, as it further protects our marine ecosystem. Our ‘Ridge to Reef’ are connected, therefore we must ensure we protect all natural ecosystems found in between. This image was taken at a taro patch right outside the Motu of ‘Oneroa’.
This image represents us, the youth of the Cook Islands, and our 2020 Environmental Sustainability Class. Through our programme we have learnt how to practice sustainable actions, what the outcomes are from taking sustainable actions and the effects of working against it. This image represents us, as the future of our nation.
The Justicia Carnea (pink plume flower) is one of the few blooming flowers currently growing in healthy numbers up the Takuvaine Valley.
My picture portrays the changes our environment goes through. Our ocean is our first line of defense and protects us from big waves crashing onto our shores. The trash cubes resemble the amount of pollution coming from land, and the potential it has to reach our marine ecosystem. The colourful cube displays demonstrates how dramatic our coastline could look if our oceans get more polluted.
The glass bottle has the potential to be reused for more beneficial purposes. Unlike plastic bottles, glass bottles are currently being crushed into fine sediment, which can then be reused for construction purposes. Support recyclable products and get creative with how we can better utilise crushed glass.
The Karerori, or the Rarotongan Flycatcher was down to 29 birds in 1989. The invasive ships rats were the primary cause of the bird’s drastic drop in numbers. Thanks to rat control programmes and a translocation project to Atiu, Kakerori numbers are now between 500 and 600.
My picture shows the importance of how ecosystems work together. For example, the purple plant known as ‘Terevete’, acts as a natural insect repellent for the taro plantation.
This here is what our landfill currently looks like. We as Cook Islanders are clearly not doing enough for a sustainable future. This is destroying our little green paradise.
The glass bottles and crushed glass represent how our glass bottles can be reused for better. The landfill now has a state of the arts glass crusher, which can now turn glass into fine sediment, as fine as the sand we have on our beaches today.
This photo shows how humans can easily take advantage of, and pollute our natural surroundings. It describes how litter/rubbish ends up smothering plants, and has the potential to reduce air quality and degrade human health if litter was ever burnt, due to toxic chemicals being released.
Get to know your waste and what gets recycled on our island. Aluminium cans and tin cans can be reused, and are a worth some money after being sent to New Zealand for recycling. Used plastic products however, are currently not worth anything and not being recycled. So, consider making responsible choices when buying products. Support Aluminium or tin based products as opposed to plastics.
REFUSE REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE; to better prevent our future from turning into a city of waste.
The image here was taken at the Waste Management Centre in Arorangi. I took this image because I believed it had a powerful message, which linked to the cartoon film WALL-E. In WALL-E, there were scenes of these exact cubes stacked in groups, covering the whole city in cubes of waste. When I saw these tin cubes I thought, if we don’t manage our waste properly, we could see WALL-E’s world in our world/community today.