Archive for February 4th, 2011

Friday, February 04th, 2011 | Author:

Well, in the case between Haiti v. the Dominican Republic, yes it is.

Before reading about this case study, I didn’t know much about Haiti or the DR, except that a) they were on the same island, b) Haiti was extremely poor, and c) the DR attracted some vacationers.

However, now I know that some of the factors contributing to the downfall of Haiti v. the “success” of the Dominican Republic are deforestation, response to environmental problems, and attitude towards neighbors.

After reading the Diamond chapter and listening to Dr. S, I began to like the Dominican Republic more and more and Haiti less and less. (Not that I don’t have pity for Haitians, I just have more respect for the Dominican Republic for attempting to save their environment.)

After reading about the former Dominican Republic President Joaquin Balaguer, I began to understand that leadership really makes all the difference when it comes to the environment. Here in the U.S. we’ve had the good fortune to have had many presidents that understand the importance of conserving the environment (such as Jimmy Carter, FDR, and Teddy Roosevelt). In the Dominican Republic, Joaquin Balaguer (while adopting controversial violent tactics)  knew the importance of environmental conservation, and took dramatic steps to ensure that their country had a relatively healthy habitat. Haiti on the other hand, has never had a political leader that truly cared about saving their environment…Which is why only 1% of their country is covered by forests, compared to the Dominican Republics’ 28%.

I believe that if Haitians wish to improve their country, they need to start with improving their environment. They need to learn from their neighbors (namely, the Dominian Republic…even if they do have a rocky relationship). Lastly, they need to elect a leader who understands that if they want the grass to be greener in Haiti, they need to stop decimating their environment.

-Kristen Callahan

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