Wednesday, August 28, 2002


This is a good one.

I have only been one place where electricity was not widespread: the Himalayan high country in Nepal near Mt. Everest. Here there were some villages that had electricity and some that did not. (There was lots of flowing water, so building small hydroelectric plants wasn't hard. Various foreign organisations (especially Austrians) wanted to build them, but the (Hindu dominated) government in Kathmandu put lots of bureacratic obstacles in their way). Due to a population explosion, there was a huge deforestation problem, with all the trees being chopped down for firewood. Any attempt to replant trees would just get almost immediately chopped down again. This was except for in and near towns with electricity, where the deforestation had stopped, and trees were successfully being replanted. Oddly enough, the presence of electricity was leading to major environmental benefits, not to mention the fact that the people were quite pleased that it freed them from lives of backbreaking labour of getting and carrying firewood. Pretty much anywhere there is no electricity, that is what life largely consists of: backbreaking labour.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Perhaps we could also fly in some McAfrika burgers from Norway.

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