Maurice Ile Durable: The “Coal-troversy”

Maurice Ile Durable: The “Coal-troversy”

The Maurice Ile Durable (MID) campaign was set up by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and had for task of setting up a framework in place to integrate a ten year strategy and an Action Plan with particular focus on factors such as: Energy, Environment, Employment, Education and Equity. This initiative is being promoted in such a way as to reflect all governmental decisions to ensure a sustainable future. However, questions can be raised as per the project of incorporating additional power plants by the government.
The Brundtland Report (1987) defines sustainability as: “..meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” In line with this definition, is the proposed responsibility of a contemporary society shared by the MID. A true idea of sustainability defined by today’s concept should cater for the needs and welfare of the society as well as managing and preserving resources, the environment, and maintaining a proper balance of those in order for future generations to experience a good quality of life. This daunting task is not one to be taken lightly. It requires enormous changes in policy, thinking and basic assumptions about the economy for its full implementation.

At present, the country is highlighting a need for increasing energy demands and a careful decision based on the visions of the MID’s concept should mean that there is a balance between environmental, social and economical factors; all to develop the capacity to provide the basic needs of the populace. However, the choice leading to coal power plants poses a serious threat to our future generations, its impact would affect a wide range of resources: natural, cultural, educational, food, clean air and water, and numerous others that support societal well-being. In addition, Coal power plants are the biggest source of man-made CO2 pollution, which alone contribute to one third of the world’s CO2 emissions, thus aggravating global warming.

It seems irrational that in an intelligent society, we are still opting to run on resources that we do not produce; coal is finite and non renewable. Running a coal plant does not only imply buying coal from foreign mines but involves transportation and storage costs and associated risks. Logically, an ideal solution might be to devise power stations that run on renewable resources readily available such as wind, tidal and solar. The natural question to ask is: Does the MID really apply a sustainability framework?

Considering the government’s emphasis on sustainable development, the logical sequence would suggest that a decision of this amplitude would be one causing the least pollution while being the most efficient and economical in the long run. With regards to the disastrous consequences of coal, one would wonder whether there has been sufficient research done on alternative sources of green energy applicable to the local context.
It is our moral imperative to provide our children with an intact and functioning planet, in at least as good a state as we received it. We are all interdependent, present and future generations, but in the present, it is the role of governmental agencies to cater for the fate of everyone, present and future. There lies an urgent need for a proper ethical approach to sustainability that provides the rational and moral basis for implementing sustainability as a framework to improve decision making, particularly with respect to energy.


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