Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: Third World Environmental Concerns

Today is Blog Action Day, a day when bloggers are encouraged to focus their attention on environmental issues. Last week my father sent me pictures he had taken from the air as they flew over Mexico City on October 3, 2007 en route from Chile. I have been to Mexico City only once, and the three days I spent there were devoid of any view of the sun or blue sky because of the heavy smog. This picture shows that same smog from above.

Mexico City

I listened recently to a talk by a Canadian who has been working in Eastern Europe. He remarked that the fall of communism brought "the best and the worst of the West" to the countries in this area. He identified “the worst” as being the quest of the working generation to acquire the material goods of our culture. Environmental concerns were secondary to the value of status symbols such as cars, big homes, and technological gadgets. Economic policy and development often takes priority over the environment.

Santiago, Chile

It has been well documented in the news that countries like China and India have an enormous emerging middle class who will create a huge market for manufactured goods. While we may talk about the need for environmental action, the entertainment and news media tend to show the developing world the allure of a materialistic lifestyle.

Those who have visited third world countries know what I am trying to say. Corrupt and greedy governments, uneven distribution of wealth, population movements from rural to urban settings and the lack of future planning are just a few factors that are causing actual and potential environmental damage that impacts all of us. But are we willing to invest in the healthy development of economies in poorer nations? The issues are so complex that it is easy to dismiss any responsibility we may feel toward the problem.

Stephen and Dad in the middle

How can we make a difference? The term Think Globally, Act Locally has been used in business and in reference to environmental issues. The choices I make locally do have a much larger ripple effect starting with the people around me who observe my habits and priorities to people far away who will never meet.

Pictures taken by my parents and brother during their trip to Chile in September 2007.


  1. Thanks for doing your part on blog action day.-I think that I missed the boat on that one.

  2. Wow, Ruth, thank you for your post, I had no idea to what degree these things were happening.

  3. Wow--I always learn something as I read blogs. Before reading yours, I had not heard of Blog Action Day. I applaud the idea.
    I would add--live simply so that others may simply live.

  4. Anonymous5:18 pm GMT-4

    That's an incredible photo of Mexico City - and a bit scary, too. Had no idea about Blog Action Day. Maybe next year...

  5. Larry- There sure were a lot of bloggers involved in this effort! Apparently it will be an annual event so you can get on board next year.

    Pam- We need to care for our own backyards, but many beautiful and sensitive areas of the earth are being mis-managed and ruined by economic priority.

    Donna- You last comment is very fitting. Extravagance, not simplicity is the rule for many. My own children have possessions in far greater quantities than my siblings and I did. It can be hard for the younger generations to live more simply. But we must try!

    Laura- The pollution in that city is astounding. It is not a good place for your lungs. Have to see what Blog action is up to next year for sure.

  6. Anonymous9:39 pm GMT-4

    I agree with everyone, thanks for doing your part and spreading the word!


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