The prosperity and socio-economic changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century gave the Western world a great advantage. They seized the opportunity and changed the world and our lives forever. And they exploited both millions of people and natural resources along the way. Now at the onset of the great dangers posed by the Global Warming, those nations are in the process of moving away from fossil fuels, coal and hard industry to greener, smarter technologies and infrastructure. What is happening on the emerging or developing world is sadly another story. A story that is worthy of discussion in our blog dedicated to enjoyment of life and beauty of this planet.
We are living in Singapore since 2013 and the country experience unhealthy or hazardous levels of air pollution every year.
This pollution is not a result of any activity done by Singaporeans or the locally based companies. It is a result of the wild fires that occur in the rain forests of Indonesia. The saddest part is that these fires are intentional and the will and actions of the Indonesian government to stop them are clearly insufficient. Even though Singapore government is ready to provide both technical and financial assistance to end such destruction of the nature, there is little has been done. The haze that is generated by the particles in the air after each fire continues to harm humans and other creatures of all countries in the region. What is worse will be the lasting impact of the loss of the rainforest and the increase of carbon emissions.
The argument on the Indonesia side is that this wild fires are not a result of the official policy and they are in a way the necessary cost of economic development. The fact that there has not been an economic development of any country without serious damage to the world and its people is suggested as an “explanation” or an “excuse”. For me, this is not acceptable. Two wrongs do not make a right. However, the developed countries of today, who caused so much damage in the past, should also take some responsibility of a fairer development of all. Without the support of the biggest advanced economies, those emerging or developing countries will continue to risk everything just to catch up.
The people of those developing countries should also understand the immediate impact of the damages these irresponsible actions have on their own lives as well as on the only planet we share. My request from them is to not sacrifice the long term peace and health of our planet by resorting to very shortsighted actions. Please do not support the short term policies that are solely focused on economic growth at all costs.