Re: [asa] Eminent scientist's documentary set to rock the accepted consensus

From: Dave Wallace <>
Date: Mon Mar 05 2007 - 08:24:46 EST

Janice Matchett wrote:

> *....The programme claims efforts to reduce CO2 are killing Africans,
> who have to burn fires inside their home, causing cancer and lung
> damage, because their governments are being encouraged to use wind and
> solar panels that are not capable of supplying the continent with
> electricity, instead of coal and oil-burning power stations that could.

Rich wrote:
Speaking of which, the Rocky Mountain chapter of the ASA just had a
meeting discussing sustainable development and your idea fit right in it
with what we discussed. Overly large and overly industrialized solutions
in developing countries simply do not work. Many times 19th Century
styled solutions are the way to go. When a Baylor engineering professor
was presenting an extremely low cost solution to USAID they complained
he didn't have enough zeros in his proposal! As part of the plans to
deal with climate all the schemes I have seen include sustainable
development and include the millennium development goals. The United
Nations Foundation sponsored an expert group to take a systematic look
at mitigation and adaption and they just reported in February. I believe
you would approve. You can find their report here:

Very good points! Much of money sent through government programs just
gets wasted in graft or does not fit in and essentially "rusts in the
field" because it stopped working or was not acceptable in the culture
or just due to lack of understanding. Where we lived the tanker trucks
would go down country full of diesel and gas and then back full of
coffee beans. When we bought gas for our Jeep SUV (maybe every six
weeks) a significant effort was made to filter it to remove the
contaminants. The nationals often referred to the process as the white
man's magic as they could see no difference between the activities we
did and magic used in an attempt to heal disease. A friend was involved
in building a chemical plant in a European 2nd world country. Getting
the necessary safety equipment into the country was a real nightmare,
some ended up coming in personal luggage at personal expense or even
scrounged from other plants in the west. This is some of the reasons
why low tech solutions are appropriate with sometimes a high tech boost
and need to be introduced carefully over a slow time period. Sometimes
it just takes an appropriate local metaphor to produce the ah ha moment,
but finding the right one that is culturally appropriate is not usually
quick. Where we lived copper was used for jewelry and as a measure of
wealth, so think of where the copper wire for electricity might go.
Even in Canada some churches have had their copper roofs stripped off
and sold as scrap.

Dave W

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Received on Mon Mar 5 08:25:35 2007

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