“Soft Sustainability” and Jamaica – A Twitter Conversation with Minister Damion Crawford

So this is development eh

Earlier this evening I saw the following tweets from Government Of Jamaica State Minister Damion Crawford

As it turns out we ended up in a long-ish Twitter conversation about his statements, which I have captured here.  (I can’t figure out how to embed it into the post but if I do I’ll update the post.)  For now, you may view the conversation via that link.  I have mostly kept the tweets in order of time sent, but there are a few at the beginning of my comments on his statements and then our conversation that I reordered for clarity; I hope that helps more than harms your ability to follow the conversation.

Other Tweeters joined in the conversation and they are included in the Storify + you can view their timelines for the comments captured in this compilation and those expressed separately.

Needless to say I’m not a fan of Minister Crawford’s position/opinion/policy.

Feedback welcome in the comments here or in the Storify comment section.  For your information, the feature picture for this post is one I previously used for post called Absurdity in St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland, Jamaica.  Somehow it seemed appropriate to reuse it here.

UPDATE – August 23, 2013 6:27 PM EST

Apparently in response to our interaction last night and perhaps some other discussions he had (I hope), Minister Crawford shared the following

My response

The graph that Minister Crawford shared was created (according to its caption) from data found in the World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report (2008) among other sources (haven’t looked those up yet).  I do not think that the information in the Living Planet Report supports the proposition about the value of or need for protected areas that Minister Crawford offers.  You may find the report here.

Apparently too Minister Crawford has appeared on Jamaican radio to “clarify” last night’s tweets.  I did not listen his comments there so I cannot comment here.  I do, however, remain mystified at his position and apparent ignorance of how important protected areas, ecosystems, biodiversity, and responsible sustainable development is for Jamaica.  That a protected area is inherently worthless — which I think is what he is ultimately saying — unless it is exploited in some way by “building, building, building” is unfathomable to me and, I think, represents a serious kind of myopia that Jamaica can ill afford among its leadership.

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3 Responses to ““Soft Sustainability” and Jamaica – A Twitter Conversation with Minister Damion Crawford”
  1. Emma Lewis says:

    Wow. Good of you to put it all together – it got pretty complex and multi-faceted at times. It was those two original tweets that really threw me for a loop. As we noted, how can anyone regard a protected area as basically of no use? (Let alone a tourism minister, who might consider the U.S. with its dozens of national parks, all tourist attractions?) Whose planet is this, anyway? And what does “development” really mean to us in Jamaica, such a small and fragile eco-system? I did see something about “soft sustainability” online, basically describing it as a useless concept that has no meaningful effect on the environment. Jamaica Environment Trust (of which I am proud to be a member) must get maximum support on this one. Thanks for getting this out so quickly!

  2. Sharifa says:

    Tourism minister???! Jeeeeesus please take the wheel!

  3. stannyha says:

    “When the elephants play, the grass gets trampled.” I weep for my country and the hands that she has been placed in charge of. Thanks for highlighting this issue and continue to be a voice of calm reason where possible. My emotions won’t allow me to get past writing an expletive-laced article. The ineptitude of the Jamaican Government is frightening at the very least.

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