Reflection essay revised
The six countries that I compared using the UN Human Development indicators were: China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, India and Bangladesh. I was surprised by various facts: a majority of the items in my closets/bedroom/kitchen were not locally made but imported; all these countries, except Mexico, are found in Asia, and none of these countries fell in the very high human development category according to the UN Human Development indicators. The highest ranking was Mexico at position 80 in the category of high human development. China followed at position 100 in the same category. This was also surprising because I expected China to be in the very high human development category. The rest of the countries were in the medium human development category in the following order: Indonesia, Viet Nam, India and Bangladesh.
All the six countries still rely heavily on fossil fuels as a source of energy despite the ongoing campaigns for alternative environmental friendly sources. Fossil fuels make up 90% of energy sources in Mexico; 88% in China; 66% in Indonesia; 71% in Viet Nam; 72.3% in India, and 71.5% in Bangladesh. Indonesia had the highest percentage of renewable sources of energy at 33.6% while Mexico had the lowest at 9.9%. The electrification rate in China was highest at 99.7% that was not unexpected; however, it was surprising to learn that the rate of electrification in Bangladesh was quite low at 46.5%.
China emitted the highest amounts of carbon (IV) oxide gas into the atmosphere (6.8 tonnes) while Bangladesh emitted the least (0.4 tonnes). The average annual growth rate of emissions was positive in the countries between 1970 and 2010. China had the highest rate at 4.8%. Indonesia was second with 4.6%, which was unexpected given that it had the highest percentage of renewable sources of energy (33.6%). Viet Nam had the highest rate of depletion of natural resources. The rate between was 9.6% between 2010 and 2012. The rate of deforestation in Mexico, Indonesia and Bangladesh between 1990 and 2011 was significant. Indonesia lost the highest percentage (20%) of its forest within this period. Mexico lost about 8% while Bangladesh lost 3.7% within the same period. China, Viet Nam and India, on the other hand, oversaw and increased their forest coverage. Viet Nam increased its coverage by over 50% while China and India increased their coverage by 33.4% and 7.3% respectively.
From the population trends, I learnt that China had the highest population of about 1.3 billion people followed by India with a population of 1.2 billion. Viet Nam had the lowest population of 91.7 million people. Noteworthy, the population in all the six countries, has been projected to increase by 2030. In the perception of well-being, I noted that it was only in India where less than 50% of the population were satisfied with their health care quality and standards of living. On matters concerning the environment, only 40% of Indians were satisfied with their government’s actions to preserve the environment.
The analysis of where the items in my closet are manufactured shows that we rarely buy items that are made locally. It also shows that our market is filled with imports from these countries, especially China. In one way or another we contribute to the growth of these economies through trade, and also to the degradation of their natural resources.
Chart Comparing Development Indicators of Six Different Countries
(MILLIONS) FOSSIL FUEL
(%) RENEWABLE ENERGY
(%) ELECTRIFICATION. RATE (%) CO2
(tonnes) FOREST COVER
(%) SATISFIED WITH HEALTHCARE (%) SATISFIED WITH LIVING STDS (%)
MEXICO 122.3 90.1 9.9 3.8 33.3 71 78
CHINA 1,385.6 88.3 11.7 99.7 6.2 22.5 65 73
INDONESIA 249.9 66.4 33.6 73.0 1.8 51.7 80 63
VIETNAM 91.7 71.0 28.2 97.6 1.7 45.0 59 68
INDIA 1,252.1 72.3 27.6 75.0 1.7 23.1 48 47
BANGLADESH 156.6 71.5 28.5 46.5 0.4 11.1 63 74
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