Nasty, Brutish & Short

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"Nothing goes to waste. It is beautiful. It is inspiring."

April 24, 2007 08:35 AM

That is Cameron Diaz, speaking on MTV's eco-tourism show "Trippin'."  What exactly is so beautiful and inspiring?  It is how villagers in Nepal slather the walls of their huts with cow dung, which they use as a form of wall plaster.  Diaz says, "It is incredible to see how in tune these people are with the environment; they are completely self-sufficient."

And, in Bhutan, Diaz thinks the locals are all happy to be living without electricity. 

Bhutan was praised by Diaz because she claimed the residents voluntarily rejected electricity in order to save the "endangered black neck crane."

"These people have decided that keeping the cranes in their valley is more important than having the convenience of electricity," Diaz noted.

"It is admirable that they would give up that convenience, because if they were to build power lines here, the birds would lose their habitat here and disappear from the landscape of Bhutan, ending centuries of tradition," she added.

As this article notes, neither MTV nor Diaz mention that Bhutan has the one of the world's highest infant mortality rates (106 in 1,000 births) and extremely low life expectancy (57 years).  In the U.S., infant mortality is 6.6 per 1,000 births, and our life expectancy is 77.  Diaz says on the show that we in the U.S. have too much "convenience," and that her favorite thing about Bhutan is that "they measure their country's wealth, not based on dollar amount but on gross national happiness."

The entire article is well worth reading, if only to hear Drew Barrymore's enthusiasm for the lack of plumbing in Chile.  "I took a poo in the woods hunched over like an animal. It was awesome."

And of course, we love this mortified quote, from someone who actually knows what they are talking about:

"Life in these developing countries is still nasty, brutish and short. And that there is a reason our parents and grandparents worked so hard to create modern homes and hospitals and technologies, so they could leave behind the unsafe water, dung fires, pollution, rotted teeth, infant mortality and life expectancies half of ours."

Emphasis added!


I'm sorry, NBS, I could only read as far as "Cameron Diaz" before my mind went in a completely different direction. . .


Polite, Refined and Tall   ·  April 24, 2007 06:40 PM

God, how patronizing! What a tourist. Live among these people for a while, and you'll find they want longer lives and better health, just like anyone else. Maybe they know they can't get it, so they're resigned to living the way they do, and that might be the most sensible and reasonable thing to do. But I don't believe for a second that if they could really get flush toilets and electricity, they wouldn't grab it and be happy. Diaz seems to be regarding them as exotic animals, without the normal instincts of human beings.

Dr. Mabuse   ·  April 25, 2007 06:39 AM

I find the show particularly funny coming from MTV, which has the ultra-excessive "My Super Sweet 16" in its line-up.

I suppose we expect villagers to go without electricity and the basics so we can use up their share of resources driving our 2nd or 3rd SUV.

Kind, Gentle and Long   ·  April 25, 2007 11:19 AM

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