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?
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (26 November, 2014).
19 January, 2015