Publication Date:June 12, 2012
Later this month at Rio+20, world leaders will gather to discuss the future of our planet — a future that must account for the value of nature in order to achieve truly sustainable economic growth. In his new book, “The Cardamom Conundrum: Reconciling Development and Conservation in the Kingdom of Cambodia,” scientist Dr. Tim Killeen provides an insightful new look at sustainable development opportunities in this resource-rich but poverty-stricken country. He recently took time to discuss his research with me.
Q: What is the “Cardamom conundrum”?
A: The term “conundrum” describes a puzzle whose solution involves resolving a paradox. In Cambodia’s case, the paradox arises from two widely held and conflicting assumptions: that the pathway to a modern economy requires exploiting a country’s natural resources, versus the contrasting vision that the long-term prosperity of a nation depends on the conservation of those very same resources.
In the book, I attempt to show that the best economic options are also in line with priorities in the environmental and social dimensions. Development options that promote investment in a productive asset are good business, and applying that logic to the natural assets of a country or region also makes good business sense.
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