Many people argue that societies must exploit their land and natural resources to prosper.
But even if you accept this, why are we supporting ‘dumb development’ — projects that destroy and pollute ecosystems while just losing money?
In Malaysian Borneo, for example, research by Nicola Abrams and her colleagues has shown that vast areas of environmentally important coastal swamplands are being destroyed for oil-palm plantations — in tidal areas where the oil palm trees quickly die.
In one coastal floodplain, they found nearly 16,000 hectares of abandoned plantations.
Ecosystems were destroyed. Money and hard work were squandered.
But even the most basic knowledge — obvious to the naked eye — would have shown the land was unsuitable for oil palm.
Here’s another tragedy in the making:
Across the wet tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America, thousands of kilometers of new roads are being bulldozed every day into remote forests brimming with biodiversity.
Some of these roads are being developed into expensive paved highways.
But in just a few years, many of these new roads will be virtually useless.
The culprit: heavy tropical rainfall, which carves out giant pot-holes while eroding the road base from below.
The scary truth is that a lot of development projects that seem like a good idea are ill-conceived and enormously risky.
Don't believe it? Watch this two-minute video, and see how the pursuit of profits can destabilize an entire nation.
When it comes to ‘development’, there’s a lot more dumbness going on right now than anybody wants to admit.