Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Choose Life

I have spent the last two and a half weeks on a holiday around Laos. This is sort of a blog about Laos, but you have to be careful. For the first week or so I kept coming across schools that were empty. This is terrible I thought, nobody in Laos goes to school. Yes, you guessed it, it was holiday time. So you've got to be careful about first impressions.

I had the opportunity to visit quite a few villages, and it is a good place to think about issues like CO2 emissions. When you look at emissions per person in Laos, it is dramatically small.

In the villages, I had time to just sit and watch the daily activities. When it comes to making do with less, these are the masters of the universe. Absolutely nothing is wasted. Watching them make their $100 houses - it was the house building season. Made from tree trunks and bamboo, erected in a day. Only last ten years or so, but then they just make a new one.

Sitting there, and recalling the country tables of emissions per person, you are truly humbled. Emissions are a choice. Sitting in Australia they are always portrayed as a necessary part of life. But compare the emissions of Australia with France and Sweden. All first world countries, similar standards of living. But Australia's emissions are much higher.

Life for the villagers is critically dependent on the monsoon. Even a small variation in the length of the monsoon means they can run dramatically short of food. So you are left sitting there thinking that the choices we make, freely, are trashing the planet. In the future, due to our choices, their lives may be dramatically impacted.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Choose life.

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