In our second article of this series, we explored several myths that people cling to when it comes to the Third World. Perhaps the most destructive one from both ends of the spectrum has to do with the perception of the Third World as a dirty, environmental degrading place. While many third world countries do have health risks, as far as human beings are concerned, the fact is that it is industrialized countries like those living in modern homes or in urban condos which have contributed the most to the poor condition of our planet. In fact, in industrialized countries we could learn a thing or two about green planning from the third world.
The third world is considered such because the countries are largely industrialized. We would argue that although industrialization does have its place, it is very beneficial for some areas of the world to have skipped this damaging developmental period in the planet's history. Farmers and workers in these countries have retained old skills, and the people have not been spoiled by an easy mechanized life. Things are moved with sling ropes and manpower opposed to vehicles and most of the country's residents are living organically without even being conscious of an alternative.
So, how can this help those of us in industrialized areas improve our green outlook? Well, first of all we could take a good lesson in attitude. To people in third world countries, food is food. There is no need to look for a spotless apple or a perfect yellow banana, and therefore no need to invent measures to grow only the most perfect foods. Food is produced and consumed naturally, and it impacts the environment far less than the production of industrialized countries. It's amazing how many family farms can't survive because they wish to produce natural food that has not been enhanced.
In addition, the consumption habits of third world countries actually encourage biodiversity, as opposed to the limiting practices of those of us in the industrial world. A report by Anhil Gupta points out that although there are 15,000 different species of edible plants in the world, less than half are used in agriculture. Even more astonishingly, only a few hundred of those crops are considered by most people on earth, with thirty of them providing 90% of the caloric intake of the world population. Again, an eat-what-you-can-grow attitude, one prevalent in third world countries, would benefit global environmental conditions if adopted. People there don't even have the luxury of grower's supplies let alone the chance to be picky about eating what comes out of the ground.
And of course, the third world still relies on manual labour over machines in order to get most of the work done. You won't see Transway vacuum tank trucks or a assembly press machine helping them to do their work. This means that the population is fitter (when fed), and national outputs of emissions far lower than that of industrialized countries.
One might say that third world countries have been forced to make green innovations simply by being left out of the industrial cycle. There is much those in industrialized nations can learn from these countries, and must.