Freedom Is Not Enough: Haiti's Sustainability in Peril

Oxford, UK; July 2010
Freedom Is Not Enough:
Haiti’s Sustainability in Peril
Following a successful rebellion against the Napoleon’s French rule in 1804, Haiti became
the first independent nation in Latin America and the first black-led republic in the world.
However, Haiti today is the poorest country in the Americas and continues to suffer from
political instability, driven by economic and environmental issues – the 2004 Haitian
rebellion is evidence of this. On January 12th 2010, Haiti was struck by one of the most
devastating earthquakes of modern history - its epicentre just 16 miles from the capital
Port-au-prince, the resultant number of victims is estimated at 400,000 people.
The article ‘Freedom Is Not Enough: Haiti’s Sustainability in Peril’ by Hans Tippenhauer,
published in the journal Local Environment, examines Haiti’s past, present and future
sustainability. This is based on a thorough cause and effect analysis of the country’s current
situation, research on relevant social and economic factors, years of field experience, as well
as training and consulting for businesses, political parties and non-profit organisations. In
addition to identifying the current major core conflicts of Haiti, the article suggests solutions
to various social, economical and environmental issues.
The paper also includes a 2 page “post scriptum addendum” in light of how the January
earthquake has affected Haiti and its needs. Having survived so many prior challenges, the
country was simply not prepared for such a disaster. Whilst much of the world watched on
through TV and social media, most people in Haiti were in the dark for weeks, isolated from
news and radio updates, and received no message of encouragement from any form of
authority for more than 3 days after the event.
Hans Tippenhauer states that “What Haiti needs is a change in its leadership paradigm from “people
who acquire power for their personal and immediate interests” to “people who use the motivation
of personal interests to build projects that can bring lasting prosperity to their local villages.””
Professor Bob Evans, Editor of Local Environment notes, “Hans Tippenhauer’s article is painfully
relevant, published just after the earthquake which devastated Haiti in January 2010. His paper
details the failures of governance, planning and politics which have not only condemned the citizens
of Haiti to poverty, with 78% living on less than $2 a day, but which also caused hundreds of
thousands to die needlessly during the chaos of the earthquake. For Tippenhauer the social,
economic and environmental conditions in Haiti are inextricably linked, and he argues forcibly for a
new political order to deliver the changes necessary to ensure the social economic and
environmental sustainability that the country so desperately needs.”
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