Friday, 26 November 2010

Sustainable development: thinking ahead (revisited)

I wish the leaders of alternative forces in Venezuela read Jared Diamond's books. Yes, Venezuela is a poor, underdeveloped country. Yes, it is now ruled by a military junta that rejects any pluralism and thinks it is the representative of the Nation and Venezuelans still do not see an end to the regime.

Still, this and this book should be food for thought for them. Now. For a future Venezuela.

Setty asked me what relevance I see for Venezuela. Well, there are many points that I could treat for ages, but here I mention some of them:

1) We Venezuelans need to learn more about world's history -not so much about which ruler did what in what year but what ideas - and not just political ideas, but general ideas - appeared where and why.
2) We Venezuelans need to understand why technologies evolved where they did.
3) We Venezuelans need to understand our society is neither a product of "inferior" societies nor just the product of "others plundering us". We need to understand the greater scope. It is neither "just our genes" nor is it "somebody's fault."
4) We need to be prepared for the Peak Oil times. Whether it is just happening or it takes place just in 70 years, it is part of reality. Oil prices will probably skyrocket at some moment we cannot predict now, but sooner than later there will be a fuel shift. Venezuela would need to prepare decades ahead if it does not want to be poorer than El Salvador.
5) Venezuelans still have a Dona Barbara mentality where Venezuela is still a huge territory to be tamed, whereas it is more fragile than most think. Venezuelans have been destroying the best fertile areas all along the coast due to the centralized way in which things evolve. Forest are destroyed, huge amounts of inhuman population centres clustered around a couple of areas. This is a social time bomb by all means.
6) Venezuelans are still not paying attention to the destruction of the most beautiful jungles and how illegal mining is destroying the societies of native Americans living in those regions. The military are in control of most of the area and they just let things happen.
7) Venezuelans are building more and more buildings without using traditional Spanish or other Southern styles that use natural cooling processes but become real ovens because of very bad ventilation. They become more and more dependent on large amounts of electricity even for making it bearable to be in a school in the middle of nowhere.
8) Venezuelans are getting rid of XXI rubbish in landfills that use XI century technology to deal with waste. The pollution there is affecting the urban centres around.
9) Venezuelans are not aware about how dependent they are from foreign evolutions in general. We cannot go to autarchy, but we should be aware of what happens to a land without at least some overview of population movements, including immigration, without any idea about how to prepared itself if its exports become less profitable, etc.
10) Venezuelans are destroying most of the best coastlines they have, urbanizing them, filling them with rubbish, and so on. This is bad for the environment, this is bad for tourism and much more.

We could go on for ages.


  1. I agree. If it were up to me, I would make 'Guns, Germs and Steel' and 'All Quiet on the Western Front' required reading for every politician.

  2. Yes, that's good reading. I doubt very much many politicians would be capable of reading Guns, Germs and Steel - what with their attention span and all -, but perhaps one could produce a version for politicians, sort of like "X for Dummies".


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