Photo Credit: Shrimp farming in Aceh, Indonesia. Photo by Mike Lusmore/Duckrabbit, 2012 via Flickr.com user WorldFish

A Conchera Speaks

In May 2009 I set out on a two-month “state-of-the-forests” mangrove tour of the Americas. I wanted to document the plight of mangroves in the region and assess the impact of their loss on the thousands of coastal people who rely on these forests for food, shelter and livelihoods. It would be a wide-ranging journey, both in the places I visited—from Florida and the Bahamas to Ecuador and Cuba—and in the people I met: from ecologists studying nutrient pathways in mangrove fauna to activists protesting against the juggernaut of shrimp aquaculture that has been responsible for so much mangrove destruction. I started a blog called “Last Stands” so that people could follow me as I crisscrossed the region, experiencing the unique world of the mangrove forest. These travels provided much of the material for my just-published book, Let Them Eat Shrimp. I invite you to share some of the highlights of my journey in these excerpts from the blog. One of the most moving encounters I had was with a young Afro-Ecuadorian woman from the village of Tambillo who collects mangrove cockles for a living. As she described the hardships and injustices of her life, I realized that there are thousands of people along the coasts of Latin America (and throughout the tropical zone of the globe) who rely on mangroves for survival, and for whom the loss of these forests is a matter of life and death. Here is the blog post I wrote after meeting Aracely Caicedo . . . Read more »