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Environmental Activism Keeps Development at Bay in Aruba

There are two Arubas. One is a shining island jewel of white sand and blue-green surf in the Dutch Caribbean, a casino-driven magnet for American tourists, American hotel chains and every conceivable fast-food restaurant, from McDonald’s to Dunkin Donuts.

The other Aruba—compromising 90 percent of the island—is a delicate and mostly flat cactus-strewn desert landscape where goats graze on the sparse vegetation peeking up from a hard surface of coral rock, and ancient Indian cave paintings, still inviting interpretation, look as fresh as the day they were made. It’s this Aruba that Accion Ambiental (AA) wants to protect from the other one.