Self-Sustainability: Making a Difference One Step at a Time

Our world has sustained human life for nearly one hundred thousand years and counting. As humans developed, industrialized, and expanded, our planet Earth groaned under the weight of exhaustion but remained steadfast, continually supporting this growth. The amount which our planet sacrifices everyday for our wellbeing is shocking—its arms are cut down for our warmth and knowledge and its mind is polluted by our toxic gases and chemicals. While first world countries are developing and producing at rapid rates, raw materials are being exhausted in third world countries. One country in particular, Cambodia, is struggling with handling its forest ecosystem as the nation is quickly growing economically with an emphasis in the manufacturing sector. In an effort to offset the unhealthy lean towards industrialization, the government and people of Cambodia have been searching for a solution to create a balance between their country’s lush, green biome and the nation’s desire to develop economically and socially.

Much of Cambodia’s current economic sustenance is provided by agriculture. Statistics from the World Bank show just how much the country and its population is invested in agriculture: “Approximately three-quarters of the population are directly engaged in agriculture and depend upon the land for their daily subsistence. Agriculture and forestry contribute nearly 40 percent of the country’s GDP” (The World Bank). Hoping to find a sufficient, steady source of economic profit, the people of Cambodia have turned to their land to reap profit from their soil with a drastic exchange of the loss of fallow land and the natural ecosystem. Now that the deed has been done and the citizens have become heavily reliant on their environment to keep fueling their economy, it is important they devise a solution to sustain their economy, lifestyle, and environment. In order to come up with a true sustainable situation, it is important that the economic growth of the country is maintained due to the positive impact it has on the social mobility and lifestyle of the people, while also reducing the negative impact on the environment.

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A possible solution to this imminent predicament is the implementation of a system where the government conserves whatever is left of the natural ecosystem and then pays citizens for every tree/plant they seed in the fallow area to grow back the land they demolished. This way, citizens are still able to preserve their quality of life financially and the environment is slowly reversing the damage that was done to it. However, it is not pragmatic to ignore the predominant agrarian society of Cambodia, so in order to still allow them to practice farming while preserving other issues, a quota can be instated that requires a certain amount of crop yield per farmer, but each farmer is only allotted a distinguished amount of land. This way, competition is encouraged while there is no major occupational shift, uprooting the people and their way of life—everyone and everything shifts for the better. Through this solution, the set goals are obviously accomplished, meaning the environment, people, and economy benefit. The citizens will have a steady source of income to support their current lifestyle and even slightly improve it since their occupations are relatively similar to before (farmers) and they now have more opportunities to make more money.

If the people of the country are experiencing an economic surge in terms of their lifestyle and job, the nation as a whole will also experience an overall economic uplift. Undoubtedly the environment is receiving its fair share of the deal since the current state of the ecosystem will be preserved and genuine attempts will be made to reverse the process and bring back what has been lost. With all ideas comes the probability that events do not work out as planned, meaning this plan may take some time to adjust to, go into effect, and show a significant difference. Since this is a relatively localized plan, specific to the nation of Cambodia, I would like to be as personally involved in the process as possible. This solution requires an intense amount of regulation, which could be provided through a specific committee of which I would train a local over time into the leadership position.

When this solution would first be implemented, I would make sure to be involved by: setting up the quota for the crop yields, making sure there were budgets allocated to every person as required, and promoting the incentive of planting trees and seeds to grow back the forest. In the future, I see this as something the people of the country would take over, which would truly satisfy the meaning of the word, self-sustainability. Word Count: 794 Works Cited “The World Bank – Cambodia Environment.” World Bank Group. Web.

21 Nov. 2011