developing ecological sensibility in poor areas – the Johannesburg summit over education

According to Maslow’s pyramid of needs, we notice that populations suffering poverty and lacking basic needs such as nutrition, health care and education, often neglect their environment and are willing to sacrifice it in exchange of development tools and foreign industries.
The lack of environmental legislation in developing countries is a good indicator of this attitude; the leaders of these Nations prefer to let this matter aside in order to attract multinational firms and develop industries imported from the West. This has led to enormous ecological catastrophes in some regions as we can speak of India and the pollution of its rivers or Brazil and their recent legislations over cutting the Rain Forest.
The Johannesburg Summit emphasizes these matters and one of its recommendations is to provide basic education to all the populations of the world and to focus in its educational programs on developing ecological sensibility, sustainable development and demographical awareness: (
The summit implements a whole strategy of spreading this knowledge and allows it an 8 to 9 billion $ budget.
The educational chart of the Johannesburg summit is quite satisfying and fair, but unfortunately, it doesn’t focus on one major aspect which is reconciling old cultures with their populations. The Johannesburg chart insists on struggling against analphabetism, offering access to science as well as developing sensibility towards current planetary problems, but is this enough?
We have the impression that the Summit talks of education in a globalized way, without taking into consideration cultural identities and national particularisms. It has actually reminded me of another debate similar to this one over the existence of several kinds of development rather then introducing the occidental scheme, characterized by the translation from industry to services as the unique most efficient way to emphasize this notion or implement a development policy.
My idea is that old cultures such as Hinduism contain a lot of wisdom in dealing with nature, respecting it and looking upon its resources.
As far as I’m concerned, developing ecological sensibility in some parts of the world is synonymous of joining back with one’s identity and cultural heritage. Populations that are sacrificing their environment in exchange of the occidental scheme of development are ones that are getting away from their culture and giving up their identities to become dissolved in a vulgar wrong definition of globalization. I think that sustainable development should take more into consideration Nations’ particularities, and remind those who are influenced by the West of their real identity without which they’ll end up by forgetting about themselves and destroying their environment. Even though capitalism has revealed itself as an inevitable economic model, it is wrong to emphasize one way of implementing it; there would be as many capitalist models as there are Nations in a fair march towards sustainable development.

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