Topics to be addressed:

  • The Environmental Emergency
  • Environmental bill
  • What is the ideal right to rectify the situation?

The capitalistic model of development has caused the planet to be overheated for several years, causing countless climate catastrophes. With climate change and the high degree of pollution, many countries are experiencing temperature changes leading to huge heat waves and droughts, while other countries are victims of unprecedented cyclones and flooding. To argue more on this subject, the Ki Nouvo Moris set had invited David Sauvage, an eco-socialist activist and member of the national committee of Rezistans ek Alternativ (ReA). The activist is of the opinion that good environmental laws can really help the Mauritian population achieve good living together with nature. The debate was hosted by Ashvin Gudday.

The Environmental Emergency

Science proves that humanity is facing an unprecedented crisis, and this is due to a specific development model called industrialized capitalism. The planet has always experienced crises, says David Sauvage, but never those of this size. Scientific studies show that the earth is facing its sixth mass extinction, and to better understand this, we need to go back to the notion of geological time. To counter this climate emergency, it will be necessary to establish a good relationship with nature. Indeed, having a development model that takes into consideration the good of living together and the well-being of nature will ensure that the required balance is respected.

“We are in an unprecedented moment because it is only human activity, i.e., the economic model based on capitalism, that has upset the balance of the earth. And today, we are experiencing this new epoch called the Anthropocene, and the question to ask ourselves is how to deal with this geological time.”

Environment Bill

The environment bill, which is in the first reading phase, is a masquerade, says David Sauvage. The lack of locus standi that activists, NGOs, and Mauritian citizens have long criticized has not been reviewed. The activist believes that these kinds of laws allow the exploitation of nature.

“It is these types of legislation that provide a legal shield for this economic model so that no one can challenge them in a court of law. What is absurd is that all governments have perpetuated this pattern, and it makes you wonder what the role of a government is.”

Indeed, the action of the Mauritian government in the face of the protection of nature leaves a lot to be desired because we see the establishment of laws that will allow the capitalist system to destroy nature without any legal responsibility.


Many young people believe in the narrative of sustainable development, but sustainable development means nothing if we do not have a balance of power to change economic activity, says David Sauvage.

This bill supports locks to prevent citizens from accessing a court of law when it concerns the protection of nature. Another flaw in the environmental bill is that ecologically sensitive areas will not be protected. Indeed, the 2009 ESA study says that you should not build on top of or next to a type 1 ESA, and the government still doesn’t seem to understand that.

“This was the main conclusion of the ESA study, and the new bill does not address this theme in any way. The proper choice would be to create an ESA Bill that will address the problems of all the diverse types of ESAs in Mauritius.”

Politics must be done in connection with reality, says David Sauvage.

« It is important to note that more than 90% of our wetlands are no longer functioning. As a result, we can’t just set up a committee for the ESAs when it won’t have the decision-making power to challenge the situation, we’re in. »

The Mauritian government must enforce laws in line with the reality in which we live. There is a need to set up committees in which Mauritians can take part, but they must be based on a vision and political will. When there is no political will, all these committees seem fake, points out David Sauvage.

What is the ideal right to rectify the situation?

Ecological action is transversal, so in all areas, we need to review ecology, whether in the educational or agricultural sectors. It requires the implementation of methods that are not classical. When we look at the history of environmental laws in Mauritius, the different regimes have done it in a mechanical way, but we will need a new way of proceeding.

The activist is also of the perspective that people should get in motion.

« When you have an environmental crisis, you need mass action. The wreckage of the bulk carrier MV Wakashio is the epitome of citizen movement. »

As a reminder, when the government was paralyzed and didn’t know what to do, the population went down to the ground, mobilizing to fight the oil spill. It’s when people are on the move that anything is possible, » says David Sauvage. Policymakers need to understand that the current development model and economic activity are the sources of environmental issues. Unfortunately, this is not a small piece of legislation that will remedy the situation.

Watch the full debate here: