In November 2008, Zac Sunderland visited Mauritius half way through his successful bid to be the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the world single-handed. As reported in the Weekend newspaper he told children at the Grand Baie Youth Sailing Club: “I wish to see a Mauritian do better than me”. However, this seems an impossible dream since only a very few lucky Mauritians are taught how to sail dinghies and there is no formal training at all for offshore yachting.
But are there good reasons to try to make Zac's wish a reality? We believe there are, so how can we achieve it?
While waste and energy grab the headlines, there is another threat to our way of life whose consequences are at least as severe. Our society is sick and without the proper treatment it will only get worse.
- Symptom: increasing spread of HIV
- Highest prevalence: intravenous drug users (IDUs), sex workers
- At risk groups: wider population, tourists
- Vectors: shared syringes, unsafe sex
No matter how much we try to ignore it, the undeniable truth is that the vast majority of us in Mauritius are the descendants of slaves and servants. Some were sold into slavery by pirates, others were convinced to sell themselves into servitude by deception. French colonialists were largely responsible for the former and British colonialists for the latter. We are now an independent nation but do we ever reflect on the degree to which this cultural legacy lives on? Download audio
What is happening to our beaches? Some are predicting that within a matter of decades they will all be eroded away. After one storm, the beach at Pointe aux Canonniers had lost an enormous amount of sand, making the predictions seem true. However, within weeks the sand was returning and the beach getting back to normal.
By thinking of our beaches as part of the mainland, we try to prevent them eroding by using many of the same methods. However, if beaches are significantly different, is it possible that we might be doing more harm than good?
Several issues affect the sustainable development of Mauritius. One is our dependence on fossil fuels for transport and electricity. These sources of energy are finite and hence, at some point in time substitutes will have to be found. A second issue is the disposal of waste. By taking a broader perspective on these two is it possible to come up with more integrated solutions?