Environmental problems

I’ve wrote other posts about China’s environmental problems after reading various articles but this one in The New York Times Review section takes the cake. According to Sheng Keyi, a former resident of Huaihua, a village on the Lanxi River in Hunan Procince, the river is dead, destroyed by pollution from factories and animal waste. Cancer rates are enormous and citizens continue to drink unsafe, toxic water because they have no choice while the privileged send their children abroad or consume clean water through networks that serve the wealthy.

The author notes that more than 50 percent of China’s rivers have disappeared altogether, cancer rates are up 80 percent in the last 30 years, and nearly 200 million mostly poor people continue to drink unsafe water. He writes, “the illness does not just affect my village and my river. The entire country is sick. In our society, profit and gross domestic product count more than anything else.”

If more people could regulate themselves, we wouldn’t need government regulation that so many people in our country hate. In China, where business and political corruption is rampant, regulation is clearly not enough. I have a buddy who lives in Beijing and came home for Christmas with severe respiratory issues, a result of intense air pollution there.

Please stop the madness.

Growth Unchecked

I’ve shared similar thoughts in the past on the limitations of excessive growth but this article in the Sunday Times Review section is especially poignant! Written by a Chinese American journalist living in Beijing, it illustrates the massive environment damage the Chinese economy has done to its ecosystem – to the point where people die years prematurely and infant mortality rates have skyrocketed. Superstorm Sandy is just the beginning. We must take environmental issues more seriously. As the number two producer of greenhouse gas emissions, the United States can do a lot better. As with any issue or problem, more focus and determination lead to faster more positive change. Denial, an all too human capacity to overlook the truth, must end!