This human behavior is as true for buying lettuce as it is for making high level state decisions. I am not suggesting that people make decisions that are flippant. I am suggesting that people make decisions with information at their disposal, and information, some call facts, can be largely based on perceptions rather than on reality. At what point does perception become reality?
I am working in the Mekong River basin. I am staying in Laos. There is a perception that is being generated by the international community and activists through the press and whatever other channels of communication, that the Xayaburi Project is problematic. One of the reasons stated is how it will hold back sediment. In my initial data gathering I found something pretty astounding, if it is in fact true. The amount of sediment that this Project potentially holds back is minimal and insignificant compared with the amount of sediment being removed throughout the basin: through sand and gravel mining, numerous tributary dams, upstream dams in China, and levee and small structures on tributaries.
So, the current fear and assertion that sediment trapping by this Project is a reason to criticize it seems to me to be more based on perception and fear, rather than on reality.