News from Manna Gum
Construction has begun on the Xayaburi Dam in Laos
November has been a month of bad news for the Mekong River and the millions who depend upon it for their livelihoods. On November 2 came news that the Cambodian Government had approved development of the Lower Se San 2 hydroelectric dam on the Mekong’s most important tributary system. As well as directly displacing many thousands of people, this dam is being constructed in an ecological hotspot that will affect Mekong fisheries for hundreds of kilometres up and downstream.
Then, a couple of days later, came news that the Government of Laos had finally confirmed, after months of evasion, that it is going ahead with the construction of the Xayaburi Hydropower Dam, which will be the first blockage of the mainstream of the Mekong south of the Chinese border. This dam will also have a significant fisheries impact and will probably spark a cascade of other mainstream dams in Laos. As the proverbist says: ‘As a dog returns to its vomit, so man returns to his folly.’ (Pr 26:11)
I have sometimes said that despair is global, but hope is local. December has begun on a more hopeful note with the conclusion of our A Different Way exposure week, which has become a fixture on the Manna Gum calendar (jointly run with TEAR). The week is about nothing less than life and how we live it, and what the Christian gospel has to say about it all. Over the week we combined Biblical reflections on creation, salvation, money, poverty, cities and work with practical experiences in compost making, gardening, killing and preparing a duck, urban gleaning, resource recovery and ethical shopping, plus many other things. Thank you so much to all those who helped in some way, and to the particpants, who entered into the week with such a willing spirit.
Finally, as the cacophony of consumer religion surrounds us all this month, I pray that you are moved by a different story: the story of how God became a baby - obscure, poor, powerless and vulnerable - and showed the world what love really looks like.
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