Pandodyssey™ Panda Blog

This is a blog devoted to Giant Panda enthusiasts, environmental wanna-bes and peace loving funimals, world-wide.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

China and the Environment

There's nothing I can add to the New York Times series titled "Choking On Growth: A series of articles and multimedia examining the human toll, global impact and political challenge of China’s epic pollution crisis" except to encourage everybody I know to read it.

Not to pick on China - every nation has got its own green skeleton in the closet. But China is in the world spot light now due to the unprecedented growth of their economy, world-wide press coverage of the upcoming 2008 Olympic games, and just plain old curiosity about the once insular Communist country. Basically, the new millennium IS China and every country on the planet knows it.

In Installment One, China's failed "Green GDP" plan is discussed. I wondered in an earlier post why the US had no similarly government sanctioned plan. Well, now China doesn't either! It appears that, once the green numbers were calculated in, the news was so sobering that the Chinese government decided to shelve the project and never discuss it again. In some areas, the green GDP figures came out to ZERO and government officials were afraid that civil unrest might ensue.

China is learning to recognize that short term gains might not be worth the long term pain. But in the meantime, China says that developed Western nations like Britain and the US started the global warming problem, and that they (we?) (us?) were permitted to expand our economies unfettered, so why shouldn't they? Touche. However, to borrow the NYT's metaphor, China is like "a teenage smoker with emphysema" - meaning China's environmental problems are growing at a rate never before seen in a developing nation. We're in uncharted territory here and there's no denying that all nations are eventually going to have to work together to fix it. It may be China's economy but the environment is everyone's to share. Just ask LA about its smog problem.

The NYT series is long - at five+ pages per article - but well worth the read.

Pictured above: Subversive cute pandas want you to read this article. Not this one, the NYT article.

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