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January 19
2015 年 1 月 19 日

貧富不均的現實世界

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在工業化國家,能源及其他資源消耗驚人,排放的溫室氣體也遠高於未發達國家。社會上不少人提倡飲食清淡,少油、少鹽、少糖、少肉食,並主張多運動、多飲水、多保養、多服務社會、多存愛心。

可是,世界七十億人口當中,四分之一的人完全無電可用,而五分之一的人只能在日常生活中接觸到非常有限的電力。換句話說,像台灣人這樣物資豐富、不愁用電的只占全球人口的一半左右。

無電可用的地區,疾病叢生、醫療設備粗糙、食物匱乏、教育不足、食用水骯髒,貧窮是居民最大的痛楚……

當然,他們的平均壽命也較短。這些地區的居民只要有吃、有喝、有一點點電力可用就已十分滿足,完全談不上少吃肉、多吃素,運動保養,或者飲食注意鹹淡的問題。

近年來,許多類似愛滋、伊波拉等致命的全球性傳染病都來自這些缺電、無電地區,所以我們不能置身事外。

可是這些缺水缺電地區衣食匱乏的民眾,卻要忍受富裕社會大量使用石化燃料(百分之七十的電力來自煤、天然氣、石油等火力發電)製造過量二氧化碳、二氧化硫等造成的霧霾及其他汙染,面對全球暖化的後遺症。

有廉價電力可用的我們與無電可用的他們生活在同一個星球上,極有可能必須共同承擔使用石化燃料帶來的災難後果。

生而不能共享資源,死因富人製造的汙染而共亡,有點不太公平吧。

註:本文曾載於聯合報(2014年11月26日)。

The unequal real world

The industrialized countries consume an enormous amount of energy and other natural resources. Hence the exorbitant amount of released green-house gases as compared to the under-developed countries. People often promote a light diet, with less oil, less salt, less sugar, less meat, and encourage more exercises, more personal care, drinking more water, more service to society and more care to others.

But no one seems to be aware that a quarter of the 7 billion people in this world have no electricity at all and another one fifth of the people have access to extremely limited electricity in their life. In other words, only about half the population on earth can enjoy the kind of abundant resources as the Taiwanese with no worry about not being able to use electricity.

The areas where there is no electricity are usually plagued by different kinds of diseases, rudimentary medical facilities, insufficient supply of food, inadequate education, and dirty and contaminated drinking water. Poverty is the biggest concern for them.

Because of all that, the life expectancy is also usually short. They would be fully satisfied if they could have enough food to eat, clean water to drink and a little bit of electricity to use. It would be a far cry for them to talk about less meat, more vegetables and personal care with more physical exercise, or pay attention to dietary problems.

In recent years, a number of lethal infections diseases, such as AIDS and Ebola, all originate from areas where there is no or limited electricity. We can't really say it is none of our business.

However, the people living in those poverty-stricken areas with insufficient electricity and water have to put up with smog and other pollutions due to the use of tremendous amount of fossil fuels (70% of electricity is generated by such thermal power as coal, natural gas and petroleum) by the affluent societies, which generates an excessive amount of carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. They have to live with the consequences of global warming.

We all live on the same earth, us with abundant supply of electricity and them with no electricity and may have to bear the consequences of disastrous results from fossil fuels.

Isn't it a bit unfair that they cannot share the resources while living and yet have to die from the pollution produced by the rich?

Note:
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (26 November, 2014).

19 January, 2015

 

 

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