Saving Tahiti’s coral reefs from Olympic destruction is not only a matter of environmental conservation and preventing a global ecosystem collapse, but also one of social justice, cultural diversity, and human dignity.
It is also a matter of Olympic spirit, as the Olympic Charter states that \”the practice of sport is a human right\” and that \”Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on […] respect for the environment\“.
Therefore, it is the duty and the responsibility of all the stakeholders involved to ensure that the surfing event for the Paris 2024 Olympics is organized in a way that respects and protects the coral reefs, the marine life, the local community, and the indigenous people of Tahiti.Olympic spirit for ongoing life and sports on planet earth?!
Hola, aloha and hi earth family, this is a research article from the heart with tears for our miraculous ocean life, inspired by Tahiti’s problems through the olympic developments! The foundations of life are threatened by big money, games, power and unconcious behaviour! We can and must stop this together, see how at the end with some wonderful action steps from seasheppert and co!
Tahiti, a French Polynesian island in the South Pacific, is famous for its stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and world-class surfing. However, it is also facing a serious threat from the planned construction of a metal tower and a service channel on the reef of Teahupo’o, the site chosen to host the surfing competition for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The Teahupo’o wave is one of the most iconic and challenging waves in the world, attracting surfers from all over the globe. It is also home to a diverse and fragile coral reef ecosystem that supports many marine species and provides valuable ecosystem services to the local community and the island.
However, the Paris 2024 organizers, who claim to have a high ambition to minimize the environmental impacts of the Games, plan to spend nearly $5 million to build a 14-meter aluminium tower with toilets, air-conditioning, and space for 40 people that they say is needed to meet safety standards. They also plan to dig an 800-meter service channel through the reef to allow access to the tower.
These plans have sparked outrage and opposition from the local residents, environmental groups, surfers, and scientists, who fear that the construction will cause irreversible damage to the coral reef and the marine life that depends on it . They argue that the tower and the channel will disrupt the natural hydrodynamics of the wave, increase sedimentation and pollution, and destroy the coral and the reef habitat . They also question the need for such a large and permanent structure, as the existing wooden tower used for the professional surfing events is dismantled after each event and has proven to be safe and sufficient .
Moreover, the opponents of the project point out that the choice of Tahiti as the surfing venue goes against the values and principles of the Olympic movement, such as sustainability, inclusivity, and solidarity . They criticize the environmental and social costs of flying athletes, officials, media, and spectators to a remote island that is 15,700 kilometers away from Paris . They also denounce the lack of consultation and participation of the local community and the indigenous people in the decision-making process .
So, what can be done to stop this project and save Tahiti’s coral reefs from Olympic destruction? In this article, we will explore some possible solutions and actions that can be taken by different stakeholders to protect and preserve the coral reefs, the marine life, the local community, and the indigenous people of Tahiti.
Solutions and Actions
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA)
The IOC and the ISA are the main decision-makers and authorities that have the power and the responsibility to choose the surfing venue for the Paris 2024 Olympics. They should reconsider and revoke their approval of Tahiti as the surfing venue, and choose a more suitable and sustainable location in mainland France or elsewhere. There are several other candidates that have expressed their interest and willingness to host the surfing event, such as Biarritz, Lacanau, Les Landes, and La Torche . These locations have the advantage of being closer to Paris, having adequate surfing conditions and infrastructure, and being less harmful to the environment and the local culture.
The Paris 2024 Organizers
The Paris 2024 organizers are the ones who proposed and selected Tahiti as the surfing venue, and who are in charge of planning and implementing the project. They should respect and listen to the voice and the concerns of the local residents, environmental groups, surfers, and scientists, and engage them in a transparent and inclusive dialogue to find a solution that will satisfy all parties . They should also conduct a thorough and independent environmental and social impact assessment of the project, and explore alternative options that are more eco-friendly and less invasive, such as using a smaller and lighter tower, or relocating the tower to a different site that does not affect the reef .
The French Polynesian Government and the Tahitian Authorities
The French Polynesian government and the Tahitian authorities are the ones who have the jurisdiction and the sovereignty over the island and its resources. They should protect and defend the interests and the rights of their people and their environment, and oppose the project that threatens their natural and cultural heritage . They should also enforce and implement the existing laws and regulations that protect the coral reefs and the marine resources, and ensure that any development project complies with the environmental and social standards and norms .
The Global and Local Civil Society and the Public
The global and local civil society and the public are the ones who have the influence and the support to raise awareness and mobilize action for the cause of saving Tahiti’s coral reefs from Olympic destruction, and pressure the decision-makers to change their plans and respect the environment and the people . They can also sign and share petitions, such as the one launched by Save Teahupo’o Reef, a coalition of locals, surfers, and environmental NGOs, that has gathered more than 150,000 signatures by January 2022 . They can also donate and support the organizations and the initiatives that are working to protect and restore the coral reefs in Tahiti and around the world, such as the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Coral Reef Initiative, the Coral Reef Alliance, and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation .
The Surfers and the Athletes
The surfers and the athletes who are qualified or aspiring to compete in the Paris 2024 Olympics are the ones who have the passion and the platform to advocate for the preservation of the coral reefs and the surfing culture in Tahiti, and to express their solidarity and their respect for the local community and the indigenous people . They can also join and support the campaigns and the movements that are calling for a more sustainable and responsible surfing, such as the #1Ocean campaign, the Surfrider Foundation, and the Save The Waves Coalition .
Saving Tahiti’s coral reefs from Olympic destruction is not only a matter of environmental conservation and preventing a global ecosystem collapse! but also of social justice, cultural diversity, and human dignity. It is also a matter of Olympic spirit, as the Olympic Charter states that \”the practice of sport is a human right\” and that \”Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on […] respect for the environment\”. Therefore, it is the duty and the responsibility of all the stakeholders involved to ensure that the surfing event for the Paris 2024 Olympics is organized in a way that respects and protects the coral reefs, the marine life, the local community, and the indigenous people of Tahiti.