We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Bitter banter about pollution turns into anger, frustration

Click here to access article by Bai Tiantian from Global Times (China).

There are definite drawbacks to serving as a workshop for the capitalist world, and this is one of the most obvious. Of course, this was Deng Xiaoping's "win-win" strategy which began in 1978 (profits for Western corporations by using China's cheap labor in exchange for technology) to accelerate the building of China's economy. And it worked fabulously well. But there are downsides and extreme pollution is one of them. Others? Consumerist values and potential capitalist influence in China's ruling class.
Public opinion in China was choked with depression, fear and anger, as large swaths of the country remained shrouded in dangerously high levels of smog and the Beijing government prolonged its yellow alert till Saturday.

Wednesday was the fifth day since the environmental department issued an orange alert for smog in Beijing. Highways have been shut down, flights canceled, and construction work and some vehicles are restricted in order to ease pollution.

However, economic losses are meager compared with torrential waves of complaints by disgruntled city dwellers.
You might also be interested in reading this editorial entitled "Massive social reform needed to cure smog" from the same source.