Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Saving our natural heritage (May 11, 1989)
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 Material Information
Title: Saving our natural heritage (May 11, 1989)
Series Title: Olasee Davis articles
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: May 11, 1989
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00003
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
The Daily News, Thursday, May 11, 1989

Saving our natural heritage

Olosee Dovs s a student at
Stephen F. Austin Univesity in
Nocogdoches, Texas.
Belng a native Virgin Islander, I
am veryconcerned about what is
happening in these islands. Al
though, I am presently in Texas
working toward my master's
degreeinagricultureI keepuppo-
litically, socially, and economi-
caly on what's happening in the Is-
What makes me write this is the
controversy over Salt River. Salt
River is one of the most important
archaeological, historic and nat
ral sites inthe Virgin Islands.
The destruction of tropical
forests in the world today is so ex-
tensive, so devastating, so ir-
revocable that humanity may soon
lh its rihest, most diverse and
most valuable biotic resource. As a
consequence, life will lose forever
much of its capability for con-
Salt River is a germ plasm in it-
self. It is a system with wildlife
that, if destroyed by the owtrue-
ion of another hotel and condo
without regarding he ecological
system, will beespecallyaffected.
t counttles other organisms -
less spectacular insects, mollusks,
native plant species- will be lost,
and the esthetic and cultural losses
to future generations will be in-
in the Virgin Islands, particular-
1. Croix, there are diverse
"fld mountain sites and
Sin which that bio-


logical genocide is in full swing.
Scientists estimate that of the
between 8 millionn and 30 million
ses of pants and animals on
earth, a vastpreponderance live in
tropical ecosystems, Thus, the
destruction of such habitats for
wildlife as the breathtaking Salt
River site can be lost forever if not
preserved now.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organization estimates that 7.5
million hectares of closed forest
and .3.8 million hectares of open
forest currently are being
-destroyed each year. If this rate
continues, it could be all over in
ab6ut 20 years. Think about that
fora moment!
Politicians, businessmen and
developers hardly ever are inter-
ested in the preservation of such
rare naturalsites as Salt River.
The decisions they make concern-
ing the fate of the beautiful V.[.
landscape always are in terms of
short-range profit, not long-range
*The trend, of course, has been
the other way. We have persisted
in our political and economic dom-.

Fuermore. some of our leaders
In the Virgin Islands the biologi-
cally ignorant have continually
beaten the drum for rapid devel-
opment, not minding that the en-
vironment cannot be exploited on a
permanent- basis without destroy.
ing it
We must teach our children
these facts: that the world's carry-
ing capacity is finite; that there
are too many peoplenow; that the
actual, very real collision between
resoues (including food pro-
duction. dean living space,
wetlands, tropical forests) and
population s the biggest, mot
fundamental, and most nearly in-
soluble problem that has ever co
fronted mankind
Whether a wild ecosystem of any
sort will long survive will depend
upon its resolution. The outlook of
life is not hopeful. However, the
people of the Virgin Islands still
have the opportunity to protectand
preserve lands that all Virgin
Islanders and visitors alike can en-
joy especiallySalt River.
Instead of another hotel or con-
do, we need more parks and farms.
The mountains of drought- and
famine-ridden Ethiopia were
covered with forest 100 years ago.
The majestic landscape of the
Virnl Islands can become as bare
as (once-greenhllsof Etopia.
Let ussupport a National Park of
the Virgin Islands to fight and to
preserve Salt River as part of our
natural heritage. It is a good
cause, a good investment for
futuregenerationsto come.

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