As a “Westerner,” I thought I knew so much about the importance of global warming to governments, schools, businesses and organizations in Canada. When I came to SE Asia and saw smog, garbage-filled everything, unnecessary burning, and just nothing noticeably “green,” I couldn’t help but think that “Westerners” were on a better track than SE Asia when it comes to “green” issues. Don’t get me wrong; coming here I did not expect SE Asia to be completely out of the loop when it comes to green issues, just not practising everything to the degree the “west” has. I have seen so many people, promotional commercials, ads, and articles telling the people of Thailand the importance in changing or learning how to adapt to these global issues. But are these ideas being embraced and practised? Just like in the west where we decided to make a change in our lives to help out with these issues but don’t really act on our words, the same applies in Asia. But when I am here seeing countries that are economically not even close to Canada (like the Philippines and Thailand) doing what they can to try and improve the awareness that this world needs to change environmentally, I am encouraged. For examples, in the Philippines we visited a beach that was dotted with the most beautiful and enormous wind turbines. North Western University has a green campaign. In Thailand we learned about the harmful effect that dams will have on water supplies and the whole country. We also learned about ways Thai farmers can adapt to the new changes in the weather. One of our guest lecturers, Jeff, who has an experimental farm, had a great answer to face this critical issue – learning to change the way people farm and view the land that will actually help the earth and environment heal itself. He does this by acting green and helping locals understand the issues at hand.
These sights and ideas have had a huge impact on me because if they take the first steps in their situations why can’t we help bring more awareness to our part of the world and to our daily lives at SSU. But there are huge issues that really hinder green movements from being more widely spread. Brianna and Lindsay did a news presentation about the upcoming world meeting on climate change. Thailand’s stance is not a very good one because they say they will not follow recommendations until the major first world countries do their part. Due to political instability in many SE Asian countries, I fear that there won’t be anything put in place by the governments that will help regulate the greenhouse gases or put in place any green movements.
By being in these countries where “green” thinking isn’t totally noticeable, I have been proven wrong. By having the chance to see many people and countries doing their part, I have learned that a part of my duty is to help spread the word about what we can do to help make our communities aware. If cause and effect actually works, then green issues can be spread around the world.