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close this bookEnvironmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)
close this folderActivities, activities and more activities
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUsing the senses
View the documentAdopt-a-tree
View the documentDuplication
View the documentMusic/rap/dance/drama
View the documentGarbage shuffle
View the documentThe rain forest revue
View the documentThe all new water review
View the documentOriginal skit
View the documentBotswana adaptation
View the documentA conservation drama - Trouble in Tikonkowo
View the documentThe awful eight
View the documentRole plays and other simulations
View the documentThe commons dilemma
View the documentKey mangrove: A system in conflict
View the documentChange in a mangrove ecosystem
View the documentKey mangrove: A conflict of interests
View the documentPoints of view
View the documentMining on the moon
View the documentMining on the moon: Part 1
View the documentMining on the moon: Part 2
View the documentThe reading and writing connection
View the documentFolk stories
View the documentSelected quotes
View the documentA heated controversy
View the documentA heated controversy: Part 1
View the documentA heated controversy: Part 2
View the documentAn environmental education tool - The creative journal
View the documentCubatao: New life in the Valley of Death
View the documentA letter from the village health worker - Clean water for elemit
View the documentLife without oil
View the documentPoetry
View the documentAway with waste!
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View the documentPicture poetry
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View the documentPoetry trail activity sheet
View the documentCartoons, fantasy, and creative
View the documentThe rare scare
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View the documentHoley ozone!
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View the documentRiparian retreat
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View the documentOur watery world
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View the documentHow do polyps build reefs?
View the documentInvestigations and experiments
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View the documentHow can an oil spill be cleaned up?
View the documentThe case for case studies
View the documentAre we creating deserts? - The Sahel famine
View the documentStudent information - Famine in the Sahel: A case study
View the documentDesertification
View the documentSustainable development
View the documentDefining sustainable development: Part 1
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View the documentCase study: United States: Part 3
View the documentCase study: Thailand: Part 4
View the documentCase study: Tanzania: Part 5
View the documentMoral dilemmas
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View the documentHard choices
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View the documentThe garbage dump field trip worksheet
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View the documentBranching out: Bat math
View the documentThe urban explosion
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View the documentAgricultural practices (A)
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View the documentWhy save rain forests?
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View the documentRaters of the planet ECO
View the documentLiven up your classroom
View the documentA web on the wall
View the documentBuilding the bulletin board
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View the documentA look at four food chains
View the documentThe interdisciplinary connection
View the documentPollution pathways
View the documentTracking the radiation (day 2- day 10)
View the documentPollution pathways (A)
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View the documentSizing up reserves
View the documentSizing up reserves (A)
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View the documentAdditional challenges (developed for the South Pacific)
View the documentThe ''good'' bacteria controversy
View the documentTaking action for the planet

Case study: Thailand: Part 4

Thailand built its economic wealth on its abundant natural resources (including teak, fish, rice, and tin) but now gets an increasing share of its gross national product (GNP) from manufacturing and services. Thailand showed a sharp increase in gross national product (GNP) per capita in recent years, pulling ahead of the average developing countries.

In several cases, Thailand nearly destroyed the resource base that fueled its growth. Logging reduced Thailand forest cover from 55 percent of the country in 1961 to about 28 percent by 1988. Deforestation left large areas of bare soil, contributing to mud slides, floods, and loss of life. As a result of the disastrous floods, Thailand banned logging as of January 1989. The Thai fishing fleet, which brings in the world's third largest catch, has decimated fish populations in the Gulf of Thailand and can maintain its catch only by building larger vessels that go further offshore. The rapid expansion of brackish water prawn culture on the southeast coast has led to the widespread destruction of mangrove forests.

The natural beauty of Thailand's coastline helps make tourism Thailand's leading source of foreign exchange. Although tourism may provide an incentive to protect scenic areas, it also causes pollution in resort towns such as Pattaya.

Thailand is more ethnically homogeneous than the other Asian rapidly industrializing countries (RICs), Malaysia and Indonesia. All but 5 percent of the population is made up of Thai-speaking Buddhists. Since the 1930s, the country has mostly been ruled by a succession of military governments; in 1988, Thailand elected its first prime minister in 12 years, suggesting that democracy may be maturing.

Thailand has invested heavily in human development. Literacy now stands at 90 percent for women and 96 percent for men, comparable to that of South Korea. Deaths of children under five have dropped from 91 per 1,000 in the 1970 75 period to a projected 39 per 1,000 in 1990 95, far below the Asian average of 94. Assisted by a vigorous family planning program and rising living standards, Thailand has undergone a demographic transition to lower birth rates. The fertility rate dropped from 5.5 in 1970 to less than 3 in 1990, below the average for developing countries.

Thailand has branched into labor-intensive industries such as integrated circuit and electronics assembly, footwear manufacturing, toy making, and textiles. Such industries have attracted considerable investment from Japan and Taiwan. Agriculture, still an important economic sector, employs the largest number of people, 18 million, or perhaps 70 percent of the work force. Northern rural areas are considerably poorer and have fewer services than metropolitan Bangkok (with 8.5 million people). On the other hand, Bangkok is choked by traffic and pollution, has no mass transit, and is home to at least 1 million squatters and slum dwellers.

Energy use, and especially electricity use, is growing rapidly. Per capita energy consumption has increased from about 8 gigajoules in 1970 to 18 in 1990, a point slightly below the 1990 average for developing countries. Thailand has considerable reserves of natural gas, a clean-burning fuel that could be tapped for both domestic use and export in liquefied form.


Reprinted from World Resources 1992-93, p. 49. Primary sources include:

1. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Thailand, Burma Country Profile 1990-91 (EIU, London, 1990), p.8.

2. Theodore Panayotou and Chartchai Parasuk, Land and Forest: Projecting Demand and Managing Encroachment (Thailand Development Research Institute, Ambassador City, Jomtien, Chon Buri, Thailand, 1990), Appendix B. p.74.

3. The World Bank, Trends in Developing Economies 1991 (The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1991), p.521.

Figure 1 Gross National Product Per Capita for Thailand and Developing Countries

Figure 2 Energy Consumption Per Capita for Thailand and Developing Countries

Figure 3 Mortality of Children Under Age 5 for Thailand and Developing Countries

Figure 4 Total Fertility Rate for Thailand and Developing Countries