NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Environmentalists aiming to stop the controversial Disney Cruise Line (DCL) development slated for Lighthouse Point, South Eleuthera, announced yesterday that they will resume their campaign paused due to Hurricane Dorian’s passage.
In July, the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF), Save the Bays, ReEarth, EARTHCARE, Waterkeepers Bahamas and Waterkeepers Alliance launched the “Stop Disney – Last Chance for Lighthouse Point” digital campaign against the project.
The group said by the end of August, more than 100,000 supporters had signed a petition to urge Disney to abandon its plans for the cruise ship port.
They noted that the campaign was paused to focus on Hurricane Dorian relief and recovery efforts.
“Today, the campaign partners announced that they will now resume their advocacy on behalf of Lighthouse Point, particularly in light of Hurricane Dorian and the climate change crisis,” the group said in a statement.
“The campaign is eager to see Disney work with Bahamian groups on a sustainable alternative for Lighthouse Point and locate its cruise ship port elsewhere.
“Hurricane Dorian could be a turning point. People in The Bahamas and around the world are seeing storms becoming more powerful and frequent and are understanding their connection to a warming ocean.
“Young people around the world are demanding that action be taken now to deal with the changing climate and human impact on the environment, particularly in environmentally-sensitive areas.”
The government signed a heads of agreement with DCL for the project on March 7. The cruise port is expected to cost between $250 million and $400 million.
Among its commitments for the project, DCL has said that it will develop less than 20 percent of the property, employ sustainable building practices, establish environmental monitoring programs during construction and operation and donate more than 190 acres of the privately-owned land to the government for conservation and public use.
However, environmentalists maintain that the project will significantly impact Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and damage the culturally and ecologically important site.
“Despite LHP’s unique beauty and value in the fight against climate change, and despite our efforts, Disney has not yet moved away from its current plans that threaten this fragile environment,” the group said.
“The foot traffic alone, from more than one million visitors a year, will certainly cause irreversible damage to coral reefs and marine life, not to mention the inevitable harm to the area’s natural resources from the construction and operation of the massive pier and port.
“Even with the campaign paused, the number of Stop Disney petition signatories has steadily increased and now is close to 110,000. The renewed ‘Last Chance’ campaign will work with this growing community of supporters to ensure that the campaign’s even more urgent message reaches out to millions more.”
Campaign Director for ‘Last Chance’ Phoebe Shaw said the groups challenge Disney to reevaluate Lighthouse Point in light of Hurricane Dorian and the need to deal with the reality of climate change.
“Last month, Greta Thunberg’s moving speech at the UN reflected the fear, frustration and anger of millions of young people whose future is being threatened by corporations and governments that are failing to act,” Shaw added
“As Greta said, ‘there is no middle ground when it comes to the climate and ecological emergency’.
“…Lighthouse Point should be a beacon of hope for The Bahamas, our oceans, and our future.”