The rich enjoy an ample supply of power while the poor bear the full consequences of pollution
Many people advocate eating light food, i.e., food with less oil, less salt, less sugar and less meat. At the same time, they advocate doing more sports, drinking more water, taking better care of their health, providing more services to society and offering more care to others.
But are you aware that 25% of the 7 billion or so people in the world live without any form of power supply, and 40% of them have only limited access on a daily basis?
The fact is only a third of the people on earth enjoy the same levels of power supply that the Taiwanese are accustomed to.
These impoverished people have little choice but to be satisfied with their meagre supply of food, drinking water and power, and any discussion about a vegetarian diet, for example, or sports, keeping fit or the taste of the actual food is largely irrelevant to them.
Not only that, people who have less access to power are more likely to experience environmental pollution compared to people who have access to cheaper power.
The irony is that 70% of the power consumed in the world is generated by coal, natural gas and oil which generate excessive levels of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and smog, which cause the pollution that so affects poorer people in the world.
Note that, in addition, people without decent access to power usually suffer different kinds of diseases and lack basic medical facilities, food, education resources and potable water. As a result of such grinding poverty, they usually have shorter-than-average life expectancy.
So we have to ask ourselves, is it fair that people with less access to the world's power supply have to bear more than their fair share of exposure to environmental pollution?
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (7 February, 2014).
February 24, 2014