The Daily News, Saturday, July 08,1991
Planning, not.lip service,
will save our environment
Olasee Davs ifs an wvlronmen-
faist. His opinion does not neces-
saily reflect that of his employer.
the University of the Virgin Islands
CooperaUve Extenson Service.
Mankind is responsible for most H
of the major land disturbances in
the world, but there is something in Guest Edito l
his moral character that makes him
feel responsible for correcting the
results of his action.
This responsibility is deep root- land is not suitable for any type of
ed, not only in Judeo-Christian tra- development.
edition but also in the so-called Yet, we continue to believe
primitive cultures. more development is good for our
For example, the Maori of New economy.
Zealand say, "The land is a mother The question is development for
that never dies." whom? Who benefits from these
Many African traditional reli- large developments? *
gions tic the concepts of human Thus, housing is built in areas
productivity and afterlife to the where it should not be built. Estate
ground on which a person was St. George on the island of St.
raised. Croix is a good example where a
Disturbance-and neglect of the housing development is build on a
land are thought to alter man's very.. flood-plain area. Here, we are creat-
relationship to God. The Bible, both. ing another problem that can be
Old- an New 'ttmentsa'iBd avoided.
steowardskhipLof i lad's= a Als6 ist the early '70s, our gov-
resources. ernor allowed housing development
However, in the Virgin-slands, to take.place in the Mon Bijou low-
we seem to have lost that reqation- land areas ofSt. Croix. To this day,
ship with the land. We do as we people get flooded everytime there
please with'land not realizing that is a heavy rain. Is this what we call
we arc part of the natural envirqn-; good planning? There are numerous
ment. 'examples throughout the Virgin
* Today, we are developing a Islands where the land has been
land-arid water-use plan for the Vir- raped because we failed to establish
gin Islands which should have been a land- and water-use plan.
done years ago. As a people, we I was told that the Planning and
should have recognized how impor- Natural Resources Department has
tant good'land stewardship is to a established a-goal for the Virgin
healthy environment. Thus, Islands' land- and water-use plan.
unplanned development in these This goal they said is to "achieve a
islands is taking place so rapidly in quality-living environment through
ronment. "I am glad we recognize
how important it is to protect our
natural resources, but it is only a
commitment on paper.
The reality is we speak from our
mouth, but not from our heart. Not
too long ago, good agricultural land
was cleared for St. Croix's second.
high school. This land was raped by
removing the yegetations and soil'
that protect it. Later on, they decid-
ed to build the second high school
sometime in 1993.
Meanwhile, the land remains
barren where wind erosion and soil
erosion destroy the land.
As citizens of these islands, we
need to play a more Oital role to
influence the behavior of those
empowered to make decisions on
We need to participate in the
planning process from the begin-
ning. The most effective results are
achieved when industry, citizens,
planners, elected officials and agen-
cies share their experience, knowl-
edge, and goals and jointly create a
plan acceptable to all people of
Press, radio, and television cov-
erage of large land development in
sensitive areas of these islands and
the efforts.of community groups
make the people of these islands'
aware of the issues and the impor-
tance of the decision making pro-
If we accept Leopold's land
ethic as good stewardship of the
land, then failure to rehabilitate
land we disturb is as unthinkable as
not to aid the victims of an automo-