I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Day 6: Cambodia, Ta Prohm (Angkor Wat)

Continuing the note above in my native voice (above meaning from the 2月26日平成19年 (アンコールワット)journal entry a few days ago) ...

How can we allow people bent on ignorance, hate, fear, and environmental destruction to continue walking this planet?
Do we all need to die for the fantasies of the few, the wealthy? We need an international rebellion against globalization (I realize and will explain the contradiction I've posed) if we are going to survive. (The only means of ending globalization and returning to a localized for of self-governance must result from a worldwide movement, a choice, a push even, because we have been similarly forced (should I say lured?) into this trap in the first place.
Returning to the local means refusing the modern tools we are expected to pick up––the computer, ケイタイ(cell phone)––and making our own. Sustainability is the key. Maintaining a balance that we can no longer see in today's economy is going to require adapting drastically different measures of what defines productivity: is it merely the object that we get from our efforts, or is it a product of all our efforts that reflects the quality of our inputs? If we keep on our oil path we will:
1) ruin the environment
2) ruin our health (food, pollution)

This will subsequently depreciate the value of life in a serious way. Ironically, I don't believe humans are too far off of the local doctrine. So many individuals and corporations use the "one more can't hurt" excuse while they destroy our Earth. This is quite clearly an example of "the commons problem".
Sure, one person, one more cubic meter of CO2 in the atmosphere makes little impact, right? Well, imagine what happens (or should I say, what is happening), when several billion people operate by the same principle. Quite simply, 3~6,000,000,000 cubic meters of CO2 is added to the air you and I breathe in one day, depending on how much access there people have to technology.
Easy if this were only a problem in the world's superpowers, the G8, but seeing life in the "nature friendly" Japan, and now here in Cambodia, my eyes have opened to the realization that this problem is only beginning. There are no environmental laws or emissions standards here (in Cambodia). Everything is up to the highest bidder. Garbage litters the streets in cities, even the bathing water in rural areas. Not one Cambodian seems to care about the cleanliness of their living conditions. Coupled with tens of thousands of touristing Westerners (and Asains) who want "at home conforts––air conditioning, chauffeuring, and Lexi––this gravens the dilemma. Air in the cities, Phnom Penh and Siem Riep, is toxic.


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