Donald Tsang set to make Hong Kong into Easter Island??

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    Just had email from Conservancy Association, highlighting a paragraph in Chief Executive Donald Tsang’s policy address this year, which perhaps suggests environmental groups are impediments to growth.

    Here is the para:

    70. The first challenge is how to sustain economic development. I have recently noticed that some in the community regard economic development and environmental/cultural conservation as mutually exclusive. This is dangerous thinking. In my view, the pursuit of social advancement is a holistic concept that should be people-oriented, comprehensive, well co-ordinated, harmonious and sustainable. In the process, attention should be paid not only to the pace, but also to the promotion of the well-being of the people, society and the environment, as well as the economy. The promotion of humanities is about the conservation of our history and culture. The well-being of society is about sharing the fruits of our success and promoting social harmony. The well-being of the environment is about resource conservation and sustainable development. To attain these progressive goals, however, we must keep up the momentum of economic growth, otherwise this is all empty talk and we shall lack the resources to make things happen. Currently, Hong Kong’s development is hampered by insufficient investment and the slow pace of public investment. I believe that in the days ahead, it will be important for the Government to enhance communication with the business community, the Councils and environmental groups on development goals. Only in this way can we smoothly take forward our public investment programmes.

    2006-07 Policy Address by Chief Executive (8)

    Now, it’s rather ironic Donald should refer to “empty talk”, since this paragraph itself seems utterly vacuous. Yes, some fine sounding words and phrases like harmonious, sustainable development, resource conservation and progressive development are bandied about, but thrown together like this they don’t add up to a hill of beans.

    The nub of the paragraph is surely in the core:
    “we must keep up the momentum of economic growth” – an utterly unsubstantiated statement.
    The nanny knows best approach, so beloved by so many goverment people; and it appears the environmental groups should join in communications, and jolly well go along with sustaining the economic growth momentum. (never mind the CE seems to believe this momentum is slowing, despite recent figures to the contrary)

    “Sustainable development” is not something that you can necessarily achieve through economic growth.

    Indeed, Donald (an avid reader of this forum… I don’t think), economic growth in itself can be extremely unsustainable.
    You don’t believe me, try a holiday in a place like Easter Island – once had plenty of trees, a society flourishing enough to build huge statues. Statue building continued even as trees chopped down (for we must continue the momentum of progress, mustn’t we?), and after the last tree chopped down, life became extremely hard for the people remaining, and for future generations on the island. To some people, there’s a lesson here. But, the Donald is not for learning.

    Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/11/15 15:23

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