So you’ve just read the WWF’s annual report on Madagascar’s fiscal year of 2005 (or perhaps you’ve just read MAP, Madagascar’s Action Plan), both of which praised, rather enthusiastically, the fact that road infrastructure within Madagascar had improved a great deal, and in fact the road network had increased in size significantly and now access would be a lot easier…
Do you think:
- That’s great! That means there will be better access to markets for otherwise inaccessible settlements, and it’ll also be better for sharing resources.
- Bonus! That means tourists can access those areas with more ease, which could bring more money to an area, and perhaps this can be spent on institutions such as schools and hospitals.
- No way! How is that a good thing?! To build more roads here in Madagascar, you’ll have to chop down the forest that stands in the way, and there’s only 10% of Madagascar’s forest remaining, which holds an incomprehensible number of endemic and often endangered species.
- Bad news – surely that will provide easier access for the illegal exploitation of natural resources?
- Uh-oh…won’t that mean that traffic on the other “main” roads will be reduced so that less produce and souvenirs can be sold by the people living at the side of those other roads…what will they do?
Or would you go for…. 6) All of the above….
If you answered 6) then like me, you may be struggling to get over this puzzling reality…
Well, that may seem like a long-winded example, but that’s the exact debate we had one hot day in Analila, in the north of this unique island…and I think it exemplifies rather well, how conservation can come into conflict with development in a country like Madagascar.
Now, to read a little bit more about what we actually did in Madagascar, what I learnt whilst I was there and what advice I would give to other people that generally care about the world in which we live, please go the links on the right side of this screen.
…and if my web page hasn’t given you enough, please do not hesitate to contact me, if you want to know anything more.
And my last 2 pennies worth…
I wrote this before I went to Madagascar, having read a sentence by James Leape, Director General of the WWF International in his foreword to the “Living Planet Report, 2006”…I thought about it then…after an incredible 3 months in Madagascar, I still think about it now…I hope you will too:
Living Beyond Our Means
Look around you,
at what you see
One goal for us all
to be happy, to be free.
Now look again…
And think of how you are placed,
within this one
time and all
A holiday may have no boundaries,
where desires may rule over needs
but on this Earth you are no tourist
and the Earth will
limit your greed.
Look around you,
as part of birds and part of trees.
It will all succumb to our desires
if we live beyond our means.
Charlotte Whitham, 14th August 2007