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French Version

Our Say...Protecting our world

Are we as world nations getting our priorities wrong? Are we as world nations trying to go after the wrong things?

Take the latest world summit at Johannesburg, an impressive gatherings of many countries.

The things which are today of most concern, global warming and the need to protect the environment, have been shoved aside and instead we are now talking about sustainable development.
At first this seems logical. After all, protecting the earth from possible extinction can go hand-in-hand with sustainable development. As world nations we can go forward, if we want to, by adopting environmental-friendly ways to support our existence and that of the existence of our planet.

The problem is we have become bogged down by semantics and words of mind-boggling measurements. While the last Rio earth summit 10 years ago was basically about protecting the earth from global warming, today we are taking very little notice of that and concentrating more on the good old notions of economic development, industrialization and producing more. These are the very things which cause global warmings and seal our feat to extinction.

The corporate, capitalist mentality does not appear to have changed one iota in adopting environment-friendly organizations and way of doing things in the West. They are refusing to change their tempo, way of life and consumerist mentality. They instead preach to the converted.

In terms of global warming the Third World can really do very little. Huddled in a vicious circle of underdevelopment, poverty, indebtedness and a whole magnitude of other problems, they are locked in a time zone that is not of their own.

It is the oil machine, the life-line of industry in the West, that is causing ruptures in the ozone layer and changes in the global atmosphere which people prefer to forget about. In all fairness, as a world, we are trying to forget about our medium and long-term problems and look for the easy way out by trying to sustain a roller-coaster of fossil energy, production lines and constant aspiration to the very worst forms of industrialization.

So in the end what do we expect? Our earth with all its glory and abundance can give and take so much of the depletion that is taking place both underground, in the atmosphere we share, and our very own life-styles that have become consumerist and based on avarice.

The meetings in Johannesburg is truly an impressive show of force. But it mustn't be just a get-together of world leaders and rubbing-shoulders. Environmental, and through it, developmental action is required to try and set the earth on a safer and more meaningful, some would say healthier pedastol. And for that to happen, we need to start changing mentalities both in the north and the south, and between the developed and developing nations. Despite our problems and divisions, there is only one earth so let us protect it!


Marseilles,31August2002
Dr Marwan Asmar
The Star


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