Portraits of Resilience

Caused the turtles lot 's of problems... to protect their land and homes

We live in La Digue, Seychelles, which has beautiful tropical beaches and lots of lovely fl owers. But La Digue is being affected by climate change with unpredictable consequences. Climate change has affected the traditional way of seeing clouds, the coral reef and rising sea levels. 

In Seychelles there are two main turtles that live here, the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle. The effects of climate change have caused the turtles lots of problems and they must adapt to the changes. Turtles have the unique ability to return to the same place decades later to repeat their ancient nesting ritual. The turtles own the beach; they were born there and return many years later to reproduce. When the sea levels rise it changes the beaches, which are the turtles’ home. If the turtle returns to its original nesting beach to fi nd it has changed or disappeared, it will turn around and go back to the ocean to try and fi nd a new habitat to lay its eggs. Which means that turtle or its babies will not return to La Digue anymore.

The temperatures in Seychelles have become much hotter and this has had an impact on the sea turtle eggs. The temperature of the eggs in the nest determines the sex of a turtle, the cooler eggs become male and the warmer eggs become female. So with hotter nests more females will hatch therefore causing a threat to the future reproduction of turtles.

Coral reefs are an important food source for sea turtles. With rising temperatures, coral reefs are suffering from “bleaching” that kills off much the reef. Sea turtles use ocean currents to travel and fi nd their food. Warming ocean temperatures change the currents and therefore the turtle’s food. So the turtle has to travel much further to fi nd its food.
All the species of turtles in Seychelles are being affected by climate change. So please protect the turtles’ home and food because they are a very important part of the food chain, and a very important part of Seychelles.

— Kwong-Wing Pierre and Isham Constance

Erosion in La Digue, Seychelles

For quite a while our island has had erosion problems and this is as a result of climate change. Erosion itself is the process where by natural forces like water wash away sand and soil, uproot trees and break rock walls. The impact of erosion is evident on our island especially along the coast and this problem has become worse with rising sea levels. Here in La Digue there are many examples of erosion.

We went to visit Mr. Ahmond, who is 67 years old and has been living here his whole life. Mr. Ahmond lives beside the coast and told us his land used to go out much further but over the years the sea has washed away the sand and soil. Mr. Ahmond had to build a sea wall to stop the erosion taking away all his land and his home. And now all his neighbors are building seawalls to protect their land and homes.
Also we have only one small hospital and the rising sea levels meant the ocean was getting so close that it was threatened the hospital. So the people who work at the hospital decided to build a sea wall to stop the effects of the erosion. The hospital is very important to us so the US Army came and helped us build the wall and now the hospital is safe.

On the north side of the island is a place called Anse Grosse Roche It has beautiful beaches but the currents are very strong. There are many sea walls that have been built there to protect the land, but many of them have broken and washed away.
Our little island has tried many things to prevent the effects of erosion like building sea walls and placing tree trunks along the beach. Other methods have also been tried like building rock walls to allow the water to fl ow through and to plant trees with strong roots to hold the sand and soil together.

Even though we are building all the sea walls and planting trees, it’s not enough and it’s not working. We are not sure what the future is for our beaches in La Digue but we will continue to try and protect our island from erosion.

— Antonnia Jeanette and Ky-Manie Eliza

Download poster (pdf)