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Old 09-22-03, 04:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
Wuntu Menny
Join Date: Apr-2002
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 623
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As promising as that announcement appears to be, we have to remember that ruling political entities in Madgascar have a 3-5 year life expectancy. Grand statements have been made in the past, only to be tossed after the next coup. In addition, areas that are supposed to receive protection by the government are frequently logged, burned, or otherwise exploited by local people that have no other alternatives to feed their families.

With all the conflicting ethnic and social elements fighting for recognition on the Malagasy political stage, it is likely that we will see many more changes of the guard before true stability reigns. Issues such as literacy and poverty need to be dealt with before conservation legislation can be truly effective. For the most part, the Malagasy people resent our desire to see more protected habitat. For every dollar we donate to preserve their forests, a family may have to go without another meal because they weren't able to produce enough charcoal to sell.

If we really want to make a difference, we should lend our support and encouragement to programs emphasizing sustainable economic development and education. Foreign investments channelling profits away from the country are not the answer, neither is the simple designation of preservation areas and parks.

The path to preserving the island's flora and fauna starts with accepting and respecting the region's cultural and social diversity. After establishing some measure of mutual trust, we can assist in improving their living standards without ramming western values and influence down their throats as we have in so many other countries around the world. Under the right set of circumstances, and with capable people in the right positions, Madagascar will regain it's environmental composure and improve it's economic status simultaneously.

Until then, I'd have to take these proposals with a grain of salt and a measure of historical perspective.

my3bits, sorry for the essay

Revenge is a dish best served cold...

With a side plate of steaming entrails,
And a nice Bordeaux!
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