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I write this blog about ecotourism because I have a big interest in this topic and I do think it can make a difference. I want to share what I find/think interesting about it.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti: When Bad Governance Ruins a Country

Map of Haiti with Port-au-Prince shownImage via Wikipedia

You have all heard of the tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti. What is unfortunate from an environmental points of view is that the catastrophe has been amplified by the destruction of the environment that the country has undergone over the last decades: exhaustion of natural resources, deforestation, pollution. All these problems have been created by a lack of governance led by dictators more interested in making themselves rich than improving the situation of their people. Jared Diamond, in his book Collapse, explains this better than I could ever do.

Not only Haiti is a failed state, the poorest of the Western Hemisphere, but it also has one of the most damaged environment of the planet. I am not saying a better governance would have prevented the earthquake, but it would have had a different impact (less building collapsing because of better infrastructure; less landslides because of trees to keep the ground). And the problem is that the destruction of the environment has created a vicious circle hard to break: as there are less opportunities for development, people will exhaust the environment even more to survive, worsening the problem.

It is hard to see any light at the end of this depressing tunnel, but right now what people need is help, not pessimism or cynicism. If you want to do something, here is a list of charities working in Haiti.

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