Hello and welcome to Taiwan. Upon your arrival, you might want to enjoy the sights and sounds of some big bustling cities like Taipei first, but we encourage you to also explore other parts of Taiwan, where you'll be thrilled to discover a wide variety of natural ecosystems, ranging from tropical to temperate coniferous forests to wetlands to world class marine environments. We especially recommend you visit eastern Taiwan, with its magnificent, natural views and high cultural diversity. Several aboriginal tribes have been living here for thousands of years, while the unique environment has also attracted a growing number of different ethnic groups to settle in the area. You'll experience a laid back life-style, strongly connected to the environment and learn why this land is a national treasure for all the people of Taiwan. Unfortunately, many developers now see the beauty of this place as something to dominate and exploit.
Shanyuan, in Taitung County, is an idyllic, tropical beach. The foot hills of the majestic Dulan Mountain range stretch down to the sea and protect a sheltered, sandy bay. Apart from the sheer beauty, it has historically offered a safe haven for families to come and swim, snorkel and relax. This type of beach is rare on the east coast which is characterized by a rugged, rocky geology, battered by typhoons and the winter monsoon. The beach also provides a protected habitat to land crabs and sea turtles which spawn here, as well as hundreds of marine creatures that shelter in the beautiful coral reefs in the adjacent ocean. The beach is public property and also Amis people's traditional territory. It is not surprising that they have long recognized this ecological jewel as a sacred site.
Now, a seaside resort called Miramar has occupied the beach for their own benefit and is in the process of destroying a pristine environment as well as a thriving eco-tourism industry that supplies sustainable employment for local people. In 2004, Miramar Resort, showing total disregard for the law and the environment, started construction without undergoing a compulsory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Protesters comprising environmental and aboriginal groups later forced the company to conduct an EIA in 2006, but by then, the building was half finished. Miramar failed that assessment. They then failed three further EIA's. The Taidong Council then removed all environmental experts from the committee which enabled Miramar to finally pass a fifth EIA but last year (2012) that panel was ruled to have been corruptly stacked by political cronies and was declared invalid by the Supreme Court. This highlighted the inherent defects in an EIA process that is convened and controlled by the same local council that corruptly allowed the resort to begin construction in the first place. As such it was no surprise when a sixth EIA was conducted and they again passed. Environmental activists have filed lawsuits against this latest EIA and it is now before the courts.
It is clear that this development not only rides roughshod over the environment, but also the rule of law. The EIA system is meant to be a mechanism to protect Taiwan's national environmental treasures, but by leaving it in the hands of dubious local councilors and developers it has become wide open to corruption and is employed to legitimize flagrant acts of greed and environmental destruction. It is time for the Central Government to step in and re-establish trust in the EIA process by ensuring panels are comprised of environmental experts and that they are allowed to operate with complete independence. But until that happens, we need your help.
Let the unscrupulous developers learn that people worldwide are banding together to protect nature. Please boycott Miramar Resort and related hotels and help us spread the word.
As an alternative, stay at one of the many B&B's or hostels that range from backpacker to luxury and ensure your money goes into local businesses and the local community. That way you will directly connect with the best of Taiwan - the famous Taiwanese friendliness and the warm indigenous culture of the east coast – as well as help to save the natural beauty of this area for future generations. We truly hope that you will enjoy your stay and thank you very much for your consideration of the environment!
Miramar Garden Taipei http://www.miramargarden.com.tw
Miramar Hotel Hsinchu http://www.miramar-hsinchu.com
Miramar Resort (not in operation yet) http://www.mirabay.com.tw
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More Languages: http://e-info.org.tw/node/86129
Contact us: Taiwan Environmental Information Association email@example.com, +886-2-29332233 ext.228