Tuesday, August 28, 2007

International Sustainability

The Chinese government is being pressured by the international community to reduce its GHG emissions and adopt cleaner technologies for manufacturing and energy production, specifically pressured by North America. However, many North American companies like Proctor and Gamble have manufacturing plants in China to produce their products which are sold in North America. Since there is a strong consumerist market in North America (especially in Canada and USA) these companies can make a consistently large profit by producing their products in China where labour is cheap and selling them at inflated prices in North America.

But we cannot solely blame North American companies and consumerist North Americans because this process is exacerbated by the Chinese government and people who support cheap labour. The Chinese government supports its fast-growing economy even though it is at the cost of public health and the environment. Their take is that the US and other developed countries have had their chance in the past to strengthen their economies and now it is China's turn.
This is somewhat of a valid point but we have now entered into the 21st century when cleaner and efficient technologies are being developed and utilized.
Although we must respect the timeline for development in developing countries it is important to for them to adopt sustainable practices that are widely accepted and promoted worldwide in order to transition and transform the common view of 'it's not in my backyard' to total respect for the environment and public health. With growing knowledge about human existence and about our universe we cannot dismiss such strong concepts that consider the sensitivity of our environment and human existence.

The international community must work together to protect public health and the environment and encourage sustainable development within developing and underdeveloped countries. Developed countries must do their part to set a good example for the protection of public health and the environment rather than focus so strongly on an overpowering economy. Otherwise, the standpoint of 'you had your chance, now it's ours' will dominate around the world and overpower the standpoint of sustainable development.

It is important to note that we must start realizing that what we buy at the store has a history of production and distribution which has a strong impact on public health and the environment. Much of what we buy is lower in cost only because of how cheaply these products can be made and distributed. This solely benefits large corporations and governments around the world. Environment and public health lose consistently.

It is also important to understand that the strength of an economy does not solely depend on how much people spend. Economies can do just as well from manufacturing and production that do not harm the environment and public health. This way our future generations are protected and the environment is further preserved and an economy can remain stable and be strengthened by doing things right the first time around and not at the expense of the environment, public health, and future generations.

We must all learn to understand the consequences of our actions on a daily basis in order to truly have respect for human beings and our earth. What ever happened to the saying "Old is Gold". Let's bring that back for the sake of our health and our environment!

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