A little about Mongolia…it has a population of close to 3 million. Under Soviet rule from 1924-1991, it became a democracy the same year Croatia proclaimed its independence. About a third of the people live in the capital Ulaanbaatar, which is the coldest capital in the world. The lowest recorded temperature was roughly -40F, but it usually hits -20F in January. Good thing I have my wool socks and “under armor.” The landscape includes the Gobi Desert, mountains, steppes and green fields. Mongolian is the official language, with Russian spoken by some of the older generation and very little Mandarin.
The nomads still roam with their herds and their gers. I think it of utmost importance that they continue this way of life, and a good way of life it is, for the sake of cultural preservation. Tendencies of Western civilization, capitalism and corporations pose a dangerous threat to this pristine land. It is a place where some of the last wild horses of Earth roam. What do we do when our last wild horses are no longer free to roam? It is an unthinkable notion. What usually happens, foreign investors and corporations enter a country, basically make loads of money off the land and its people and then high-tail it out of there leaving behind ashes and toxicity. The world is already overpopulated with concrete and industry. Mongolia is gaining greater appeal and I fear for its integrity. Politicians will be politicians, but hope is for ever around the corner. Some Western ideas and practices can certainly be beneficial to the land, however much of it can be detrimental.
On a side not, I am ecstatic as I have just purchased a Voltaic Solar Backpack (http://www.voltaicsystems.com/). Using solely the sun (though you can plug it into an outlet), it charges mp3 players, cameras, cell phones, GPS, electric shavers, etc. I have never been so truly amazed. I can be stuck in the Gobi Desert with no water and yet still be able to listen to music and have an electrical shave! Free and clean energy is here. Now. Use it. We have the technology to run cars on various oils (vegetable to name one), to power homes and electronics using the sun and also to create energy using the wind. Go solar, go biodiesel. Lift this veil of ignorance enforced upon us ever since Rudolf Diesel was thrown into the English Channel for even thinking of running his engines on vegetable and peanut oil.
T-Minus 2 weeks.