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A Delicate Balance

Environmental awareness and protectionist measures are at an all time high.

Many countries in the developing world have set up a framework for sound regulation of the use and reliance on the environment.

However, bad economic times pose challenges that have caused tension between human and environment survival.

In these hard and trying times, many unscrupulous corporations are taking advantage of the challenges faced by developing countries.

The dire need for job creation and foreign investment has opened the unfortunate opportunity for governments to be open to negotiations on investments that were otherwise not open for negotiation.

In Swaziland, the resuscitation of mines that were closed long ago is a classic example. The environmental impact of one iron ore mine excavated by a Mozambican company has not been researched, but it cannot be doubted that the community has been affected, wild animals have been displaced and the general ecological balanced of the area has been compromised by the mining operations.

The difficult question that faces governments is what price should a good government be willing to pay for economic growth, especially because the survival of the environment is inextricably linked to the survival and progression of mankind. Answers to this question are often controversial because it all goes down to the value system and policies of the government in question. There is also the corruption dimension which will also seek to inform the direction which a government will ultimately take. When government officials are corrupt, they will be willing to sacrifice the environment for the right amount of money. This corruption will sometimes go undetected when the government deals with unsophisticated people who may not appreciate the long term effects of certain investments, or who may not know where they should report if/when problems arise.

The environmental problems common to all countries of the world have changed the way we make decisions, and it is especially difficult for developing countries to make an appropriate determination when unemployment rates are so high and economic growth is stifled.

So the question remains, what price is too high where the environment is concerned.

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