Dutch Wadden Sea – UNESCO World Heritage @ We Love Earth
1 August 2016
On Earth, where water meets land, often life is most abundant. Here the two are in a very intimate dance – the ever-lasting tidal play in the Dutch Wadden Sea, one of the most beautiful landscapes of Europe, and one of its ecologically most important nature reserves, a UNESCO World Heritage site in its entirety.
Here life is at every level. Millions upon millions of migratory birds, with many populations depending on these feeding grounds for their survival. From a tiny hermit crab to the system itself, alive as it breaths, as it flows, floods and settles and forms – forms the most beautiful art of nature, only to redraw it all the very next day.
There are large populations of two different types of seals, the harbour seal and the grey seal – weighing up to 350 kilos, the largest mammal (on land) of western Europe – since the elk and brown bear are gone.
Land is taken here, and land is formed. On those ridges that are dry long enough for the wind to catch the sand tiny dunes are formed – kept in place by marram grass, one of the bravest little plants of our planet, collecting fresh water from the rain and making a soil from nothing but sand. Furthest from the gullies clay is deposited in salt marshes, adding greens to a landscape of greys, browns, ochers, blues and white – and offering a shelter and spawning ground to many types of fish.
In other words, the Wadden Sea is vibrant – it is wild, it is strong, and it is very much alive.
The Wadden Sea is also threatened though. Threatened by forecasts of escalating sea level rise, threatened by an increasingly eager gas industry – that wants to drill and even frack for gas, even though the land subsidence this extraction causes may speed up the relative sea level rise.
The Wadden Sea is strong and sturdy. But we cannot stand by idle as it drowns. We have to prevent the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets and the several metres of sea level rise this causes. This means we have to stop fossil fuels. We also have to stop that same industry locally. No gas extraction under UNESCO World Heritage nature reserves. No gas drilling in the Wadden Sea!
For more information and to express support, please take a look at Gasvrij Waddenzee – the special page devoted to remove the gas industry from this unique natural landscape, one of the pearls of Europe and our planet.