Environmentalism in China – Part 4/4

To discover more of how diverse this environmental awakening is in China, the October 2011 issue of Smithsonian magazine introduces us to the Bird Whisperer, a Buddhist monk named Tashi Zangpo, who is saving one of the world’s rarest birds, the Tibetan bunting.

“Tashi, now 41,” Phil McKenna writes, “has crisscrossed the Tibetan plateau drawing 400 bird species. He is currently compiling a field guide that evokes the work of John James Audubon or Roger Tory Peterson. He wears prayer beads on one wrist and a digital watch with altimeter and compass on the other.”

However, in America, regardless of what is happening in Asia, China is often criticized in the media and by the public (after reading about it in the media) for air pollution blowing more than 6,000 miles across the Pacific to the United States.


The breathing earth

From Where Does Our Pollution Go, we learn that “Winds can carry pollution around the planet, therefore, all nations are connected by air currents,” and then from MSNBC, we discover that the U.S. exports its air pollution to Europe.

When I Googled “air pollution from China to America”, the results were more than 9.4 million hits, but when I searched “air pollution from America to Europe”, there were more than 17 million.

MSNBC’s Michael Schirber of Live Science reported in 2005, that “On Nov. 14, 2001, a low-pressure system caused a large mass of air huddled over the eastern half of the United States to rise up several miles, where it was then carried by the jet stream to Europe,” which resulted in a 33% increase in ozone levels in the Alps.

In addition, Schirber says, “European pollution has been tracked to Asia, as well as the Arctic…” He compares the wind to a conveyor belt.

In fact, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research reported in October 2009 that when it comes to global air pollution, what goes around comes around. “Air pollution from factories, traffic, and power plants in Asia wafts over the Pacific Ocean to the United States, while pollutants produced in the United States wind up in Europe.”

Then there are those in America and Europe (and elsewhere in the world) that claim CO2 is not a pollutant and is not contributing to Global Warming.


Ocean Acidification — Changing Planet — As higher amounts of carbon dioxide become absorbed by the oceans, some marine organisms are finding it is a struggle to survive

For such naysayers, in January 2008, a Stanford Report written by Louis Bergeron reported on a study conducted by a Stanford scientist that linked carbon dioxide emissions to increased deaths.

“For the first time,” Bergeron wrote, there were direct links between increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and increases in human mortality…

The study detailed how for each increase of 1 degree Celsius caused by carbon dioxide, the resulting air pollution would lead annually to about a thousand additional deaths and many more cases of respiratory illness and asthma in the United States.

So, next time you hear someone criticize China for air pollution crossing the Pacific Ocean to the US, consider the amount of CO2 and Black Soot China produced in the last thirty years of industrialization compared to the UK, Europe and America’s more than two centuries.

Once you know the facts and you were given a choice to live in Europe or America, where would the air probably be cleaner/healthier?

Return to Environmentalism in China – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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2 Responses to Environmentalism in China – Part 4/4

  1. Dionne Griffin says:

    I think we all need to think long and hard about this beautiful world we are destroying and know in yourself about the truth of your own doings and change them for our own life if u want to live to see your children grow up and to not have to worry about the mess you created when you leave this earth as aventually we will all do as no living form of life lives forever and you will be judged for your murders towards mother nature as mother nature was put here for a reason and that reason is being tested now its up to the leader of all human race and that is yourself to beleive in yourself as its for your own good because if you cant give good then it only looks bad we should put in alot of air rotating windmills high up in the air all over the world to produce more movement through the air that is solar panneld by the sun also to build and run a massive underground pipe line through the seas from america seas and china seas to transport high levels of fresh water through to the dryer parts of the world to help level out the climate change as these two countries are the only 2 in the world that would be able to make this enourmous mission become real to save the land that was put here for humans purposly to live on not to kill ourselfs selfishly and unhumanity what are we thinking of our wants to learn greed or our needs to live a life sometimes we all have to make sacrifices even if it is a matter of life and death think about it thats the problem no one beleives that the world is dying and its really happening right infront of our eyes in this world u cant buy oxygen to live its a need just like water land and food to continue through earth you need to stop most of the smoke chemicals into the air that we all pay for how pathetic never heard or seen anything as such rubbish in my life well so far and their for no one should have to starve of food (land) water(rain) shelter(materials used from minerals for that matter of the times) or air(oxegen) this being the most important element of all i have hopes and dreams that it will be far fair life to have lived and your childrens lifes till this happens hopefully never will i dont want to live and die i want to live love try and survive before i fly even if that makes me cry meaning we can now see then we feel alive and wishfully want u to see the meaning of life is to help each other to survive or no one did see him die as the time line is running and time will stand still when you see it coming

    • Dionne,

      I understand your concern about the environment. I share similar concerns. However, a period ( . punctuation mark) now and then to show where sentences end and begin would be nice. I’m not all that concerned that the sentences be fragments (incomplete thoughts) or have other mistakes such as spelling but periods do help understand what you mean with a space between the period and the capital letter that starts the next thought.

      As for me as an individual (I’m not talking about China or the US or the industrialized world—we have little or no control over what everyone else in the world does with their lives), I live a vegan lifestyle and walk as often as possible even to go to town. I also ride subways instead of drive my hybrid car that averages about 40 mph. I’m waiting for an all electric car (that is affordable) that will run at least 500 miles or more on one charge and be capable of swapping an empty battery out for a full one in minutes the same as filling a tank of gas.

      Because I do not eat meat, dairy, cheese, etc. and walk often instead of use car all the time I have a very small carbon footprint. However, I’m not about to live in an unheated cave without a fan to cool the air and live off weeds and wild edible plants.

      If we are to help each other survive in this world, I believe it is best if each of us lives a healthy lifestyle. Imagine if we always walked to a friend’s house or the store if it was at a distance of two miles or less. Imagine if we did not eat animal products (a lot of water and air pollution comes from the meat industry — just raising cattle, chickens, lambs and pigs for the slaughter increases water and air pollution). Imagine if we opened our windows more often to let the air in instead of running the heater or air conditioner 24/7 as many do. In fact, the temperature in my office at home right now early in the e morning is 65 degrees. An hour ago it was 64 degrees. Instead of turning on a heater to raise the temperature to 72 degrees, as most do, I wear a sweatshirt and I’m fine. Even in winter, we seldom use our heater unless the temperature falls below 64 degrees and even then we just set the heat at 64 degrees and wear jackets, etc. Our electric bill is usually half or even seventy-five percent lower than most of our neighbors.

      For example, it’s going to heat up later today so in the morning I throw open all the windows to get the temperature down as low as possible then close up the house as the day starts to heat. It works. Even when it is 90 degrees outside eight, the temperature inside is fifteen to twenty degrees cooler.

      Since there are more than seven billion people on the planet, it is futile to attempt to change them but we may life our lives to help the environment be a better, cleaner place and maybe in time, those people around us (friends, family, neighbors) will notice and make improvements in their livestyles.

      And if the majority of humanity refuses to see what they are doing to the planet and continues to live selfish, environmentally destructive lives, then maybe humanity deserves to go extinct. I read once that if all of us humans were to die off today, in ten-thousand years the planet would have healed itself from the damage humans caused to the environment and it would be almost impossible to find any evidence of mankind’s existence.

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