Science and the scriptures, which are complementary and not antagonistic, can help us to move from cupidity and selfishness to solidarity and sharing. The Bhagavad-Gita tells us that life is a contradiction and nothing exists without its opposite. The present mindset based on cupidity and selfishness has its own opposite which is solidarity and sharing. The Bible, in the words of the poet William Blake, tells us that God is Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love. The Koran teaches us that salvation lies in solidarity and sharing. With science and the scriptures, we have the intellectual and spiritual tools to chart a new course.
It cannot be “business as usual”. Citizens of the republic of Mauritius must learn that you cannot have your cake and eat it; you cannot have ‘le beurre et l’argent du beurre”; you cannot “manz banann dan de bout”.
With ‘global burning’ which is more serious than global warming and ‘climate crisis’ which is more serious than climate change, the sea level will rise in a dramatic way and all coastal areas will be under water. We will have to live, work and play on less land area.
Land is our most precious resource for it provides us with living space, space for food production, industrial, administrative and cultural activities. Land should not henceforth be considered as a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder. It is to be reckoned as the most essential element of our survival kit, the unalienable rights and heritage of the nation. It is our duty to look after our land and sea, not as resources to be plundered, but as our heritage to be shepherded by diligent and honest stewards. We should be duty bound to replant our land forests and our mangrove forests and ensure biodiversity and food security.
• Food security (FS): This should be based on the principle of “Eat what you grow and grow what you eat”. It also means a new food culture which helps to reduce pathologies such as obesity and diabetes. New staples such as breadfruit, cassava, corn, sweet potato, arrowroot and potato should replace imported rice and wheat. Red meat should be discouraged and poultry and fish encouraged.
• Land and country planning (LCP): The island of Mauritius could be divided into some 20 semi-autonomous, self-contained municipalities offering residence, work, culture and leisure. People without disabilities should be encouraged to use muscle power (walking and cycling) to move from one place to another. Intermunicipal transport is to be assured by electric-powered vehicles – bus and light train. Outer islands will follow suit and adopt similar policies.
• Green energy (GE): Fossil fuels must be banned. Bioenergy (sugar cane), solar panels, hydropower plants, wind turbines accompanied by energy-saving devices and culture could ensure the energy needed for home, office and all necessary utilities.
• Generalised IT (GIT): The republic is to be completely wired and all homes, offices and institutions should have easy access to the internet.
• Universal Functional Literacy (UFL): A rational, well-planned language policy will definitely produce a nation of citizens literate in at least the national and official languages (Mauritian Creole and English, two creole languages). Literacy should become a human right without which a citizen is unable to enjoy the fruits of civilization.
• Gender Equality (GE): Men and women should have equal rights and be free to choose their orientations.
• Green and Culture Tourism (GCT): Beach tourism has had its day. Green and culture tourism must be explored to make this world a better place to live in and make international solidarity and sharing a meaningful experience.
LET’S START THE DEBATE AND ACTION NOW FOR TOMORROW WILL BE TOO LATE.
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