A few days ago, the newest issue of Le Monde diplomatique (Latin American edition) arrived. It had an interesting article about ecology debt ¿What’s that?
According to the author it’s “The debt that the north, specially the industrialized countries, owes to the third world for the exploitation of their natural resources, for buying their products at under valuated prices. Also for the free usage of their genetic resources, or the free usage of their environmental space for deposit of waste, like the ozone layer gases”
The author claims that the industrialized world produces a disproportionate quantity of contamination and exerts a huge pressure in order to get also a disproportionate quantity of natural resources. In order to be able to compete against the protectionism, to pay the external debt, pay for the manufacture products, etc the third world is forced to an over production of natural resources with the known consequences: Health damages produced by the used of agro quimics prohibited in their countries of origin, degradation of the fertilized regions, the ozone layer hole (which happens to be over the Antarctica , Chile and Argentina only), or the case of the nonrenewable products like oil, in which price, that quality is not reflected ( I am not so sure about this last claim). Other example aborigine cultures of the Andes have known for centuries about the beneficial properties of certain plants, minerals, etc but the legal rights now belong to the corporations that sent expeditions to investigate those claims and subsequently patent them. Also the “gene scandal” when those same Indians found out that “humanitarian expeditions” were being sent with the purpose of stealing their genes.
The author, Walter Alberto Pengue also speaks of the “ecologic print” (sorry about the translation) he says that a fifth of the world population lives in Europe, Japan, U.S.A, Australia but they use more space and resources that their territories can provide. The “print” (the quantity of space required for housing, timber, agriculture, fishing, etc) is in the industrialized world more or less 8 hectares per inhabitant (10000 square meters equals to one hectares or 2,5 acres) for the underdeveloped world the space for each inhabitant is less than 2 hectares.
In conclusion he claims that the only way to speak with the richest countries about these problems is using a concept they understand very well… money. The compensation of this debt with the external debt, will not only help the poorest of this planet but also force the industrialized countries to use the resources in a prudent way. In this way our grand- children will be able to inherit the earth and not a dessert.