There is this thing called ‘development’ that is so perplexing. For the layman, it’s seeing housing complexes and skyscrapers springing up, meticulous road networks, computerized systems and yes, increased attempts to land on Mars.
For the tree-hugger, it’s a fast-disappearing natural world that is being displaced by metal, bricks and concrete, and a constant risk to our own existence.
The developer is right; with improved technologies, so much good has, and is still happening to simplify our mode of living and provide us with a much more comfortable world.
But the tree hugger is also right; there is so much you can do without risking a zombie world, with people growing away from nature, becoming more dependent on technology, and increasingly threatening their own existence through the development of weapons of mass destruction and pollution.
An attempt to find a go-between solution brought about the word, ‘sustainable development’. For many, this phrase has since lost meaning because sustainable or not, man keeps reaching for the heights, with never enough of enough.
Like termites we spread, covering each place we cross with hills and tunnels, the skies knowing no limits, until in its wrath, the earth avenges with harsh weather, landslides, fires, floods, in what has now come to be known as climatic changes due to man’s own activities.
By nature, man is very competitive and this is a trait that will not let be sustainability. For the developed nations, their strength lies in a show case of power and in the ability to influence political and economic decisions of the other nations, in most cases, to their own advantage.
For the fast developing countries, it’s a case of showing that they too can. For the developing nations, it’s a struggle to rise above the waters and in their own strength, influence their own trend of development without much external interference.
Like the animal world, its survival for the fittest, the weakest at the mercy of the strongest.
A horrifying announcement on radio the other day was a call for the developed nations to ‘stop development’ or risk irreversible changes to climate. But how can this be?
As long as one nation is afraid of the other, it must maintain the upper hand on power, and this means an upper edge on technology and capital. If you say then that they must stop technological advancement, it’s more like wishing them to die.
The problem is, technology has in its-self become irreversible, with populations now highly dependent on it for survival.
At the same time, these technologies are as equally dependent on what the earth can offer as raw material, and so the cycle continues.
Shocking as it was, at a time when scientists were expressing concerns over the melting arctic, two powerful nations were grabbing the opportunity of global warming to claim the ocean bed below that is now more accessible for oil exploration.
So, what can be done? As a developing nation, we feel proud when we see structures coming up, plush fields giving way to beautiful conglomerations of housing estates and industries, road and air traffics increasing; because all these demonstrate increased economic activity and prosperity.
Whereas Rwanda is doing it’s best to enable sustainable development, it is unfortunately a battle it cannot fight alone as a nation, but has to strive in exemplariness, hopefully influencing other surrounding nations to do the same.
The problem is that whether or not this thing called development has had such visible drastic effects on our climate, the poorer nations must strive to reach where the rich nations are for survival’s sake.
Development is the main problem behind pollution on land, air and the seas; power control leading to endless wars and exploitation. On the other hand, it has brought about lots of smiles and relief to the sick, the poor, enabled faster communication, solved mysteries and murders, brought to us television and lots of other goodies.
There is the argument that the earth has the potential to revitalize itself and correct the whole processes of global warming caused by man.
The question is whether this potential to correct itself will enable humanity to live through the entire process, or cause extinction for another life to reoccur.
Right or wrong, this arrogant and competitive nature of man is do or die. Other than be brought down to his knees, he will die trying, and with him, bring down the willing and unwilling.