As reported by Reuters yesterday:
The president of Uganda asked the National Forest Authority boss to quit after he refused to license a palm oil company to destroy a pristine rainforest on an island in Lake Victoria, according to his resignation note.
According to the article, a palm oil plantation would offer economic benefits that outweigh environmental concerns. They’ll need to break the law to move ahead, but according to the president’s office, they have to act fast to beat out other countries that might also try to court the palm oil company.
Clearly this is an incredibly short-sighted act, as the ecological damage that ensues could soon not only make the island’s soil untenable for palm trees, but alter the lake’s ecosystem in ways that disrupt other income-earning activities it supports.
But we can’t really blame the Ugandan government for scrambling to grab a piece of the gold rush that global demand for biodiesel has created. Our do-gooder feelings (and low fuel prices!) at the expense of their rainforest. That’s not such a bad deal, is it?