Stop turtling: start creating change and making a difference with collective action

In the idyllic landscapes of Curaçao, a diverse range of concerns echoes through the air, from economic challenges to the preservation of the island's natural assets. Conversations among the islanders often revolve around these issues, generating passionate discussions that, unfortunately, seldom translate into tangible actions. There exists a pervasive tendency to shy away from active participation and to remain confined within the comfort of murmurs among friends. This phenomenon is what I colloquially refer to as "Turtling"—a retreat into silence when it comes time to stand up for what is right. However, it is crucial to recognize that irrespective of the issue at hand, whether it's the economy or environmental conservation, change remains elusive until collective voices rise. 

The Illusion of Inaction 

The phrase "thirty meters is thirty meters" serves as a poignant metaphor for the illusion of inaction. It implies that, regardless of how the situation is framed or dissected, nothing will change unless individuals muster the courage to stand up for what is right. This sentiment is vividly illustrated in the recent discourse surrounding the article titled "Preserve Playa Piskadó: Stop Feeding Turtles in Curaçao." 

The piece highlights the irresponsible practice of “unnaturally” feeding turtles and sparks numerous supportive comments from concerned individuals. However, the impact of these words remains limited as long as the community, particularly in Westpunt, fails to unite and speak with a collective voice. 

The Tale of Playa Piskadó 

The article on Playa Piskadó serves as a microcosm of the larger societal issue—people expressing their concerns individually but hesitating to join forces for a common cause. It is not enough to voice opinions in isolation; the need for the hour is a united front that amplifies these concerns. When contrasting voices join into a harmonious chorus, they become impossible to ignore. Elected representatives, entrusted with reflecting the people's will, take notice when the message resonates strongly, particularly as Curaçao's election year approaches. 

The Power of Collective Action 

Change, by its very nature, is a collective endeavor. The power to influence decisions lies in the hands of the community when they choose to act in unison. The preservation of Playa Piskadó and the well-being of its turtle population demand more than individual comments—they require a collective roar that reverberates through the corridors of decision-making. Thirty meters, in this context, transforms into a symbolic distance bridged by the united strides of a community committed to meaningful change. 

Breaking the Cycle of Inaction 

To break the cycle of inaction, it is imperative for individuals to transcend the confines of private discussions and step into the public sphere with a shared purpose. When diverse voices converge into a symphony of change, decision-makers are compelled to listen. This is the essence of democracy—the collective power of the people shaping the trajectory of their community. 


In Curaçao, as in any community, change is not a solitary pursuit. It requires the synergy of numerous voices converging to create a force that is impossible to ignore. The issue of feeding turtles at Playa Piskadó is just one example of the broader challenge—the need for individuals to rise above the fear of standing alone and embrace the strength found in collective action. The phrase "thirty meters is thirty meters" serves as a stark reminder that change remains elusive until we collectively stand up to make a difference. It is time to transform conjecture into action, to turn complaints into a rallying cry for meaningful change, and to redefine the significance of thirty meters by the strength of our unity. 

Photo's are courtesy of Frank Do