Monday, September 26, 2011

Sustainability, environmentalism and the developing world

Today I read an obituary of Dr Wangari Maathai by Richard Black (
On her 2004 Nobel peace prize he wrote:
"for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace".
In other words, it's not just planting trees - it's the reasons why trees are planted, it's the social side of how the tree-planting works, it's the political work that goes alongside tree-planting, and it's the vision that sees loss of forest as translating into loss of prospects for people down the track.
There is, in some parts of the world, a backlash now against these ideas.
Every couple of days an email comes into my inbox asserting that the way to help poorer countries develop is to get them to exploit their natural resources as quickly and deeply as possible with no regard for problems that may cause.
Organisations promoting this viewpoint are not, to my knowledge, based in the developing world but in the Western capitals that might make use of the fruits of such exploitation - cheaper wood, cheaper oil, cheaper metals.
It is the opposite of sustainable."
I think this pretty much sums up why our thoughts need to be conscious, why no action is too small, and why we need to be intelligent in out use of critical thinking.

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