a nickel for your thoughts, once again • 01.25.09
So something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, obviously, is how to have responsible investment in developing countries that both benefits local people and helps boost the national economy, while not destroying the natural environment that, especially in Madagascar, is hugely unique and in danger of being completely demolished. I think the answer is NOT MINING. I hate what is happening with this nickel mine (and all of the others), and I hate that the government and the minions of the president are getting richer through all of these ‘development projects’. Sherritt, you make me physically ill.
“Local sentiments are ambivalent. People surely are happy about the prospects of being employed. However, most of the employment is short-term (only during construction but not operation of the mine). Local people are rarely skilled so that very few will have the chance to work for the mine in the end. People are not happy about being displaced by pipeline construction, but they appreciate the homes that Sherritt has built for them as compensation. People would love to use the pipeline trajectory as a regular road to transport goods on, but Sherritt has not said whether it will allow that. People are definitely not happy about environmental impacts of the mine, most importantly silting of streams and rice fields, as well as social ones, including rising food prices due to inflation and pregnancies among teenage girls by miner workers. At least local people benefit from the mine in terms of being able to sell their produce to the mine workers.”
Conservationists worry that the long-term impact of the mine with be difficult to gauge because “there is no independent oversight of the project. There is no independent institution that will follow up on Sherritt’s activities with respect to what was stated in the environmental impact assessment and the cahier de charges.”
Located right outside of Tamatave, Parc Ivoloina is an excellent place to see all sorts of endemic flora and fauna. Sondra and I spent a couple of days there last year; they hosted a training for all of the tour guide associations in Tamatave and we were invited to sit in on their meetings. Topics included environmental sustainability, ecotourism, Malagasy history and ecosystems, and principles of good guiding. On our last morning, we awoke to some sort of ruckus, which was actually a group of lemurs gallivanting outside of our dorm. We caught them on video here:
Spotlight on Nature: lemurs from Sara LeHoullier on Vimeo.
In case you’re interested, here’s the Madagascar Fauna Group website: