Photographed by © Peyton Fulford, courtesy of Culture Trip, with story voiced by Camryn Manheim
The sun-drenched nation of The Bahamas is comprised of seven hundred islands and two thousand cays of sand and coral reefs.
When we see the beautiful turquoise ocean stretched out before us, we think of it as a tropical paradise… and imagine that the water is as clean as it is clear.
But there’s a dark underbelly to these crystalline waters.
Mega-resort developments, inadequate sewage-treatment infrastructure, polluted stormwater runoff, and plastics pollution threaten them every day.
Because in the Bahamas, there are very few environmental regulations and almost no enforcement of existing laws. So corporations and landowners can do what they want. Even if it harms the waters that drew them here in the first place.
That’s why Rashema Ingraham is fighting for change. As the Bimini Coastal Waterkeeper and Executive Director of Waterkeeper Bahamas, she is working to implement better laws and law enforcement. To educate the local community and Bahamas visitors about what’s at stake, and how they can help.
Our friends at Culture Trip met Rashema on Grand Bahama Island, where they visited one of many beaches affected by sea level rise and erosion to learn more about what inspires her as she watches over these waters.
As a child, Rashema’s grandfather opened her eyes to the wonders of the water world. They would hop into his self-made canoes and head out for a day of exploration…catching fish and fresh conch…snorkeling… and giving themselves over to the beauty of nature.
This is the Bahamas we dream of… the Bahamas nature intended… and a dream that is within reach…thanks to Rashema.
As the Bimini Coastal Waterkeeper and the head of Waterkeepers Bahamas, Rashema Ingraham is leading the campaign to maintain and protect the world-renowned waters of the Bahamas, a nation of some 700 islands and about 2,000 cays of low islands and reefs of sand or coral, which are being threatened by mega-resort developments, sorely inadequate sewage-treatment infrastructure, polluted stormwater runoff and plastics pollution. There are few environmental regulations and little enforcement of existing laws in the Bahamas due to the size of the nation and the limited resources of law enforcement, but with her legal training, dedication and passion for her island home (as a child, her late grandfather opened her eyes to the wonders of her water world, taking her into his self-made canoes to catch fish and conch) she is succeeding in making the people of the Bahamas aware of the burgeoning crisis and the need for more wise and stringent water management policies.
Waterkeeper Warriors is a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Waterkeeper Alliance, presented in partnership with Culture Trip. Inspired to join our Warriors in protecting the world’s waterways? Donate now.
Special thanks to Creative Producer Kathryn MacLeod, our partners at Wild Woods Picture & Sound and our friends at Sonic Union and Sound Lounge.