I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Haiti and the Dominican Republic

According to the CIA , Haiti is far poorer than the Dominican Republic.  (No, I'm not privy to their internal memos - they publish this stuff on the Internet.) 
Infant mortality                   59.69 / 1000 live births
Life expectancy @ birth     60.78 years
Literacy                             52.9 %
GDP per capita                 $ 1,300
Pop below poverty line       80 %

                                               Dominican Republic
Infant mortality                     25.96/1000  live births
Life expectancy @ birth        73.7 years
Literacy                                87 %                                
GDP per capita                    $ 8,300
Pop below poverty line         42.2 %

Same island - far different outcomes. Why?  Environmental degradation and poor governance in Haiti...
Experts say deforestation in Haiti stretching back to the Duvalier dictatorships -- leaving the nation with less than 2 percent forest cover -- contributes to erosion that undermines food output by the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere....Years of weak government were also a shortcoming.
I'd say the writer of the Reuters article was being kind to the Duvaliers by calling their rule  'weak government.'  However you classify the goverance of Haiti, its current situation is a reminder to us all that we cannot have a healthy, happy culture and people without thriving ecosystems.

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