Upscale shopping malls in Bangkok may actually be harming the livelihoods of fishermen in the neighboring country of Laos. Bangkok’s sleek shopping malls demand enormous energy resources to power their consumer lifestyle of wealth and prestige. For example, Bangkok’s Siam Paragon shopping mall alone consumes almost as much electricity annually as the entire Thai province of Mukdahan.
To satisfy the enormous energy demands of Bangkok’s shopping malls, Thailand is turning to hydroelectric dams in Laos. Although these dams may provide some economic benefits for Laos, these dams threaten fish populations, agriculture, tourism, and the general livelihood of millions of local people in Laos. Despite these threats, the construction of hydroelectric dams in Laos is expected to increase in the coming years in order to support the luxury embodied in the shopping malls of Bangkok.
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Bangkok’s luxury malls use more energy than some provinces (INFOGRAPHIC)