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Am I the only person who thinks differently? By Dr Andries Botha

I listen to the debate on environmental matters and sometimes cringe.  Is development really as bad as we make it out to be?  No two ways about it, there are negative cases out there, but is that the full picture and is that the future we must avoid completely? When I was first introduced to systems thinking in 1990, the person doing the introduction drew me a graph.  On the X-axis he wrote environmental protection and on the Y-axis he wrote industrial development.  He then asked me:  Why do we always see the two as polar opposites?  Could industrial development and environmental protection not go hand in hand?  Use the revenues generated from the industrial activities to ensure environmental protection.  He showed me the graph based on the debate at the time regarding the St Lucia area.  A wonderful natural environment with huge tourism potential.  But also, a large reserve of heavy sand containing Titanium Dioxide.  The miners wanted to wash the dune sand and separate the TiO2 to sell for profits.  In the end, the environmentalists won and the decision was made to only allow tourism activities in the area.  Today, St Lucia is still a wonderful natural environment, but without the booming tourism industry that was planned.  Tourism did not care about investing in the road … to continue reading, click here!

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