Outsourcing Pollution

It was a surreal moment: we were driving through fresh Canadian air surrounded by fog and century-old evergreens when we flipped on the radio just in time to catch this interview with Dr. Steven Davis, sharing the tough findings of his research on how consumption in the West actually results in the premature deaths of people in Asia and other global manufacturing hubs. This is real.

The actual impacts of the imbalance of resources as well as Western consumption’s contribution to disease in other places is brutal – but it doesn’t feel real. Here we are in the fresh cool air of Canada, cell phones in hand, instead of our home in SE Asia because the air quality in Thailand is so bad until the rain comes and washes it clean. If the impact was local, we would understand the impact we’re having on our community and home. It seems like every day I participate in or directly cause harm to the planet (and our ‘neighbors’). The only thing I can think of is to continue looking for a place to localize our life and our impacts, and to make that decision sooner rather than later. In terms of consumption of goods we can buy local and used wherever we are. Living in Thailand, our life is simpler in some ways but then we fly through the air in massive airplanes just to see family members. What are actual tangible ways we can reduce our impact now and in the future? Has anyone tried carbon credits? Please leave your tips below.

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